Collen Murahwa Herald Reporter
Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Dr Walter Mzembi yesterday expressed frustration over the continued existence of numerous police roadblocks on the country’s highways, saying Zimbabwe was not a war zone.
He said roadblocks were a threat to the tourism sector. Speaking at the launch of the Economic Development in Africa Report 2017, Dr Mzembi urged the police to revise their policing culture.
“My frustration is with tourism facilitation,” he said. “I have been in the news pleading for a more judicious, reasonable policing of the travelling public, whether it is domestic tourism or international traffic.
“The arguments are really between us the sector, ministries and the sectors that facilitate and enable us. If it takes so long as it has done or has been the case, to be heard for things that are so apparent then that is what we call frustration.
“You know what is right for the market and you keep on pushing. You shout about it and the world has international benchmarks and standards that speak to how policing should be done.”
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Dr Mzembi said police played an integral role in any country, but their operations should be within international standards. “We are not asking not to be policed,” he said. “We want to be policed according to international benchmarks. We are not a war zone. We are not a conflict zone, but we want to be policed decently so that we facilitate legitimate travel.” Dr Mzembi said he was yet to meet Home Affairs Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo over the matter, but would push for such a meeting.
He also condemned the use of spikes by the police. “I do not know where there is a workshop that makes these things, but perhaps maybe only in Zimbabwe,” he said. “We should not try to do things that are questionable to the international best practices.”
Dr Mzembi said it was beneficial for the country to adopt good practices. “That is not sabotage,” he said. “It is actually making a plea for the greater good of the economy and this does not happen in policing only, we also see it at immigration.
“There is absolutely no reason for a country with 14 million people to create queues. We are only 14 million and creating queues for everything. These are small things, but they speak to markets.”
Dr Mzembi appealed for a larger share of resources in the National Budget to boost tourism.