This edited volume entitled The Public Policy Question in Zimbabwe's Evolving Development Agenda: Policy as the Hub of National Development is a valuable and welcome contributionto the body of knowledge in Public Policy Analysis, African Studies, Development Studies, Political Science, Public Administration and other cognate academic disciplines. It is the second book to be proudly produced as part of the SAAPAM Books Series. The inaugural publication in this series was Future Realities of Coalition Governments in South Africa by Mzwandile Masina, who led a coalition at Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality in South Africa during the time of the research and writing of his book. In line with SAAPAM's commitment to scholarly excellence, the current book draws on analysis by academics, practitioners and activists to grapple with public policy questions in post-independent Zimbabwe. As the motto of the differentially abled people demands, "nothing about us without us" (Charlton, 1998), the research and writing of this book was done by Zimbabweans from different academic orientations ranging from Governance Studies to Law, Politics, Geography and others. The end product of their hard work is a testament to Zimbabweans' shared resolve to find solutions to their societal problems. This painstaking commitment is a matter of urgency as voices calling for public policy reform in Zimbabwe grow louder. The book is also timely since it assumes a position of interdisciplinarity, which is a contemporary trend in Public Affairs scholarship. The book is also necessary and long overdue as its publication comes at a time of painful concerns that Africans (especially those residing in Africa) are not making enough contribution to society's knowledge industry. The latter ignores the reality that the current status quo is largely a by-product of the circumstances imposed on Africa and Africans by the matrix of coloniality.
While this book does not necessarily provide answers to all public policy questions in Zimbabwe, it provides a greater sense of the past, present and future of Zimbabwe's
policy trajectory in selected sectors. This observation dovetails with Carlos Slim Helu's (as cited by PSG Wealth 2022: online) conviction that "With a good perspective on history, we can have a better understanding of the past and present, and thus a clear vision of the future". Equally, the book carries many lessons for other developing nation-states with a deeply rooted history of colonialism and imperialism and is bound to make a meaningful contribution to academic discourse, both theory and practice. There is no gainsaying that it deserves a special place in the curriculum offerings of the universities in Zimbabwe, Africa and the Global South. Besides the fact that it lays fertile ground for future research in the field, it can potentially serve as a useful tool for the teaching and learning of students, especially given the succinct and user-friendly manner in which public policy is conceptualised in the book. The book concedes that indeed there is no globally accepted definition of public policy. All definitions found in the literature confirm Thomas Dye's (Toppr 2022: online) take that public policy simply denotes "whatever governments choose to do or not to do".
It is our hope that this book will be well received within scholarly and government circles. The critical aspects of public policy (i.e. foreign policy issues) that have not been dealt with in the current book will certainly receive the necessary attention in subsequent editions and/or elsewhere as Africans collectively respond to calls for epistemic freedom, decolonisation and the Africanisation of knowledge. The foregoing should be understood within the context that the study of public policy in any given nation-state remains complex and almost impossible to be wholly explored in one book.
Professor Kgothatso Shai
16 August 2022
Editor in Chief: SAAPAM Books Series
University of Limpopo