ZIMBABWE traffic police officers are set to undergo smiling lessons to ensure that they treat visiting motorists with kindness and not scare away tourists, Home Affairs deputy minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said last week.
The training would be conducted by the Home Affairs ministry in collaboration with the Tourism and Hospitality ministry to coach cops, especially traffic officers, to be friendly to visitors.
Ziyambi was responding to a question by Matabeleland South senator Sithembile Mlotshwa in the Senate on Thursday on what the ministry was doing to stop traffics cops from harassing motorists with foreign number plates.
Mlotshwa asked whether the ministry had deployed police officers who “are going to look after tourists” ahead of the festive season, saying this was because “we notice that ordinary policeman harass the foreign number plates vehicle owners all the time”.
Ziyambi condemned the harassment of foreign tourists by traffic cops and said they would undergo training on people skills.
“We are working with the Tourism and Hospitality Industry ministry to have police officers who are trained to be friendly to our tourists because we value our visitors. We want to give them a warm welcome to Zimbabwe, especially during the festive season,” Ziyambi told the Senate, according to Parliament’s publication Hansard.
Police are known to mount a number of roadblocks on roads from the country’s border post targeting mostly foreign-registered vehicles.
Cross-border commuter transport operators commonly known as omalayitsha always tell stories of police harassment as they demand bribes.
Ziyambi added: “We are going to have police officers with bibs indicating that they are tourism police officers. We are working hand-in-hand with the Tourism and Hospitality Industry ministry to promote this friendly environment and have our police officers policing in a friendly environment. We do not condone any harassment of foreign tourists.”
Zimbabwe’s tourism sector has turned the corner, as statistics show the number of tourists visiting the country keeps going up.