2 March 2017
HARARE – Reports this week that over 10 000 tourists have complained about
the numerous police roadblocks in Zimbabwe and the rough treatment they
received from the uniformed forces is a matter of national concern.
This does not only put a dent on the tourism industry – one of the few
sectors that are still growing in Zimbabwe – but also positions the
country on a bad spot.
Who in his right senses would want to visit a country where they are
constantly harassed and intimidated by the police for merely being a
While we appreciate the role of the police in maintaining peace and
security, the presence of so many police officers on the roads projects an
image of insecurity and high risk, which again does not auger well for
Over the past few years, complaints over the ever-increasing number of
roadblocks and the extortionist tendency of officers manning police
checkpoints have been raised, but nothing has changed. If anything, the
roadblocks have increased in number in the past few months.
Numerous complaints are coming from a diverse section of the public, among
them motorists, passengers, tourists, tourism players and business
Legislators and some government officials have also added their voice,
making the roadblock issue a national concern.
As such, the government must come up with a strategy that strikes a
balance between policing and the need to increase tourist arrivals,
because, as it stands, the two are working at variance.
Zimbabwe needs all the tourists it can get to improve its economy and its
brand, which are in tatters and the government cannot afford to be this
indifferent on a matter that keeps on being raised.
Not only are these police officers a menace to tourists but they are also
a threat to local motorists and one would be forgiven for thinking the
government’s silence on illegal spot fines and copious roadblocks proves
that this is a fund-raising initiative.
The time is now ripe for government and other concerned stakeholders to
put an end to this madness that is threatening the ease of doing business
Already, some countries such as Tanzania and Kenya have reduced the number
of police roadblocks after realising their negative consequences.
Why can’t we do the same?
People begin to suspect there is a sinister move by the Home Affairs
ministry to frustrate Tourism minister Walter Mzembi’s $5 billion tourism