Dr Winston Mano, Director of the Africa Media Centre and Course Leader of the Media and Development MA course, contributed to several media outlets by lending his academic expertise regarding the political situation in Zimbabwe and its impact on society and education. 

Speaking to BBC News about the spread of information during the heated situation in Zimbabwe, Dr Mano said: “I think social media has filled in the gaps. Almost hundred per cent of the households in Zimbabwe have mobile phones and people have been filling this space with news, even though some of it is not true and exaggerated.” He also noted that the leaders are expected to show enough responsibility, so that there is no further spillage of blood.

Explaining to BBC Radio 5 Live why he doesn’t consider Mugabe’s move to be a political coup, Dr Winston Mano said: “It is very strange because they announced the time that they would step in - when you are executing a coup, you don’t announce it in advance. Secondly, they are abiding by the constitution.”

On Sky News, Dr Mano commented: “There are two sides to Mugabe – there is the Mugabe who Zimbabweans are proud of, the founder of the nation. He helped fight colonialism, so that the nation gets to where it is. However, on the other side, he didn’t have a succession plan, which is what caused this down fall.”

In a commentary article for the i Newspaper, which discussed the impact of social media in Zimbabwe, Dr Winston Mano acknowledged there are two sides to the use of social media in the country. He wrote: “Thanks to social media, the Zimbabwean army’s bold challenge to their leader and ruling party was relayed to the nation and outside world, including the country’s vocal diaspora. Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter were among applications used by Zimbabweans to dissect the message issued by the army.”

However, Dr Mano noted that over-reliance on social media could turn out to be dangerous as it can generate rumours and lies.

Read Dr Winston Mano’s article on the i News website.

Dr Winston Mano’s view on potential education reforms in Zimbabwe was also featured in the Times Higher Education magazine’s print and online versions as well as Inside Higher Education.

He explained that an important first step for solving issues in the higher education system would be to repeal the PhD in Sociology that was awarded to Mugabe’s wife by the University of Zimbabwe just two months after her enrolment, without her attending courses on the campus or writing a thesis. In his interview Dr Mano said: “It has to be done as a symbol to break away from the past.”

Read the whole article on the Times Higher Education magazine’s website.

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