A NUMBER of guest houses and lodges in Bulawayo face closure as the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) crack the whip on unregistered entities across the country to bring sanity in the tourism sector.
Concerns were raised by tourism players in Victoria Falls about the mushrooming of unregistered lodges and guests houses countrywide during a three-day Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) conference.
HAZ expressed concerns that most of these lodges and guest houses were being used as brothels where people were engaging in the organised criminal activity of prostitution. Some town houses located in the central business district converted into illegal lodges and guest houses charge between $5 and $10 an hour for services normally utilised by prostitutes for mainly sexual activities.
The old and rundown inns also charge $35 for overnight accommodation. ZTA acting chief executive officer Givemore Chidzidzi said they were going to descend hard on illegal operators and close the places in a move aimed at having a brothel-free country.
Chidzidzi said the crackdown would also help to curb prostitution in the country’s urban centres.
“The situation is seriously chaotic, but we are not to going to rest until we bring them to book,” Chidzidzi said.
The ZTA should be applauded for that stance. In fact, the blitz against these illegal guest houses and lodges has been long overdue. Some of these places are indeed Sodom and Gomorrah where prostitution and drug-traffic is rife.
Stories have been written of people being robbed or even killed at these places. Families have been left broken by some of the shenanigans that happen at these places. Men have been seen entering these places with girls as young as their daughters while it has also been the same with sugar mummies.
We urge the police, the Bulawayo City Council and ZTA to move with speed to arrest this rot which is threatening the city’s clean environment.
The proliferation of these sordid lodges and guest houses soils Bulawayo’s name and says as much about the moral decadence in some of the citizens, including men of God who have been fingered for patronising lodges with some of their flock.
Stiff penalties should be levied against the operation of brothels while patrons found engaging in sordid acts at these premises should be arrested for prostitution and brought before the courts.
On its part, the ZTA should name and shame the offending lodges and guest houses, including their owners if it is serious about dealing with this vice.