'Roadblocks put off tourists'

BULAWAYO - The Zimbabwe Republic Police has been challenged to reduce the number of roadblocks on the country’s highways because they are putting off tourists and have become a nuisance.

Matobo-based tourist attraction centre, Amagugu International Heritage Centre director Pathisa Nyathi expressed displeasure at the heavy presence of police checkpoints, particularly on the highway leading to his cultural centre.

“It does not help our tourism at all,” Nyathi said.

“Imagine, just getting to Matopos and you have gone through four roadblocks. Certainly, we are not militarily or in a security sense, a threatened State. We are not threatened by any other State. So, there is really no need for so many roadblocks. If anything, they have become a hindrance.”

Police spokesperson Charity Charamba said checkpoints were necessary on the highways to fight crime.

“The issue of roadblocks is not synonymous to Zimbabwe only, all countries deploy officers to roadblocks,” she told State television recently.

From Bulawayo to Amagugu, there is a 60 km distance but on a recent trip, a bus carrying delegates and tourists to the venue encountered four roadblocks, a development that even got the tourists wondering if there was some form of “Al-Qaeda” in Zimbabwe, he said.

Zimbabwe’s alluring holiday destinations are struggling to attract tourists these days, largely due to the rising number of ubiquitous security checkpoints on highways manned by armed police officers who often demand bribes from motorists.

Hotels and tour operators at Victoria Falls — the largest waterfall in the world, Zimbabwe’s main tourist

attraction, and once a major revenue earner — and at several nature reserves,  are among those suffering from the decline in the number of visitors as numerous “roadblocks” discourage tourists to undertake road travel.

“...last week we went to Plumtree doing one of our programmes and we went through seven roadblocks. The fact that we counted them means that we were concerned,” Nyathi said.

It’s about 100km from Bulawayo to Plumtree.

Nyathi questioned the logic behind such an astonishing number of roadblocks.

“So you will realise that somebody will be stopped at each and every roadblock, what does that mean? That’s not good enough. Why so many of them? We are not under a threat, we can only find out from them unless if it is a threat that is not known to some of us.”

The devastating impact of the roadblocks on tourism has become more apparent and Zimbabwe’s Home Affairs ministry, in collaboration with the Tourism and Hospitality Industry ministry recently instituted training courses for traffic officers on “smiling” and treating tourists and other motorists with kindness.

Last month, the Zimbabwe Council for Tourism executive director Paul Matamisa also bemoaned the number of roadblocks which he said had a negative impact on the country’s tourism industry.

Comments (21)

today was coming from marondera, passed thru ruwa at my friend's house,road block withing the res 1,just b4 zimra 2, at mabvuku 3, before 11months bridge speed trap 4,just after 11months bridge before danhiko 5, highlands shops along genara, borrowdale road before sam levy 6. think off it that is only 35km in total 6 road blocks haa garai mega zimbabwe yenyu

John Phiri - 18 May 2016

You should not be surprised stations are given targets and i these are not met the officer in charge and officer commanding province will be fired for incompetence. There is need for the auditor general to find out how these funds are administered. Most of it is being used by the bosses for their extravagnce living. There is also need to reign in the wife of the commissioner general as she is forcing members to contribute to this animal called kuyedza as there is no benefit derived from this club. It is a shame that members are forced to pay money to support the upkeep of Chihuri and his wife

chirandu - 18 May 2016

the story is talking of 4 road blocks in 60 km from Mabvuku to Msasa is less 9 Km there is always 5 Road Blocks 1. pa Red Bull , 2. just before turn off, 3 just after turn off and that block caused an accident because it is placed at a construction area were a bridge is currently being constructed, 4 just before 11 month bridge and last but not list 5 th one just after 11 month bridge. So now caculate how these are spaced less than a kilometer road block and you expect us to continue our support on you. I never supported any other party but this time ndachinja nxaaaa. If you wil be driving from Tafara you will be blessed with the sixth one just after the small river bridge that borders Old Tafara and New Tafara. Mr President are you still alive or dead. Manyanya kutiregerera.

fury - 18 May 2016

I am a South African and I visit Zimbabwe regularly. I attended the Annual Hlanganani-Sanganai Tourism........as an official from the District Municipality. I was shocked one time to be fined for turning-on fog lights "because there was no fog". It is pathetic, I mean it has been proved that when lights are on visibility is improved. The tourism authority should be weary of our concerns and just the mere thought of roadblocks is a turnoff.

Balanganani Waniwa - 18 May 2016

Too many roadblocks in Zimbabwe. Police definitely target vehicles with foreign number plates. Drivers of these vehicles are foreigners and do not know all the road signs and speed traps. They thus fall prey to police and get slapped with a spot fine payable immediately for failure to observe a traffic sign which is not properly visible. This discourages tourists from visiting Zimbabwe.

Justin - 18 May 2016

You should not be surprised stations are given targets and i these are not met the officer in charge and officer commanding province will be fired for incompetence. There is need for the auditor general to find out how these funds are administered. Most of it is being used by the bosses for their extravagnce living. There is also need to reign in the wife of the commissioner general as she is forcing members to contribute to this animal called kuyedza as there is no benefit derived from this club. It is a shame that members are forced to pay money to support the upkeep of Chihuri and his wife

chirandu - 18 May 2016

The tragedy in Zimbabwe is the lack of accountability. Memory Charamba and Chihuri can do whatever they want and no one will ask them to account for it. The number of roadnlocks amd officers at each(minimum of 7) clearly shows that this force is overstaffed. They do not have any work to do other than to go and harass motorist for bribes. Most of the police force are now driving fancy ex jap cars and have properties(from a salary of less than $400.00/month)- The police hierarchy simply says "so what" and no one (all the useless parliamentarians) can say anything about it. Kombi operators are sharing their takings on a 50/50 basis with the police(ZRP/VED and Council. But mark my words time is coming when this will have to stop. People are fed up and all that is required is just a spark to send the police scurrying for cover from the road blocks(Dynamos/FCPlatinum)

Dhara John - 18 May 2016

its not tourism only that is at the receiving end of zimbabwe's hotch-potch way of doing things! every sector have been trounced & trempled upon! farmers were chased in broad daylight and we are left with grasslands & velds! teachers were marginalised to the periphery for their heralding role when mdc came on board, now we are left with temp & relief teachers. indeginisation is driving out the remaining few companies. and now its road blocks, extorting from both locals & foreigners. now when foreigners are feeling the heat, how does the locals feel at the hands of this regime & its apparatus. nhay nehanda nyakasikana kkkkkk ko togozowanepiko matooristi hona taneta nema rhodhi brok mweya unoera?!!!

SaManyika Chaiye - 18 May 2016

True Mr Nyathi,one would be forgiven to conclude that Zimbabwe is in a state of war.Even during Smith's war road blocks were fewer than they are nowadays.Imagine going to Plumtree one is assured at least to encounter not less than 5 road blocks.Is there any justification for such road blocks when there are no feeder roads along that route.

Gen. Spinola - 18 May 2016

John phiri watii

Tapiwa Nyika - 18 May 2016

INI ndotongouya kuZimbabwe kana kwaita nhamo chete. Say what ever maZimbavha maZRP. Vadzvanyiriri.

Ndugu. - 18 May 2016

Please Police administrators i think you can see this post, from Strathaven Shops to CBD today 5/18/2016 there were 6 roadblocks with 7 to 10 Officers at one spot, about 40 officers on morning rush hour covering a distance of 6km in Harare, please, please , nyika ndeyedu hapana foreigner rapinda apa. Izvi zvanyanya please we beg you to restore respect that we had in our Police Force . They all ask for 2 things Triangle and Buiscuit sparewheel.

Tawanda - 18 May 2016

Who said Zimbabwe is not a police State? It is in every sense. There is something that Government is afraid off. Have noticed the number of young police/support unit constable walking aimlessly in Harare. They look like they are off duty just doing a thing or two in town. On first street between Samora and Manica Road you can easily run into 15 or more. Even Smith was never this scared.

Obed Karioki - 18 May 2016

@ Charamba, which countries are you referring to which have roadblocks to the same magnitude as zim?Stop just parroting a lie.We are not insane as you are.Just tell the nation that your targets have to be met.

Tahir Iqbal - 19 May 2016

Zimbabwe Revenue Police, they are doing road blocks in surburbs. Mbavha dzakapfeka mauniform. Zimbabweans we have to stop this madness and rescue ourselves otherwise no one will.

Bonganilishe - 19 May 2016

I went to Botswana over the weekend using Plumtree border I encountered six road blocks.Think of the delay yet I was intending to come back the same day.Please Zimbabwean authorities do us a favour by respecting us.When I grew up I never used to see these road blocks.I bought my tyres in Francistown when one guy Batswana guy told me that he used to visit Zimbabwe but not anymore.I asked him r u not visiting Zim bcz he wl be penalised by Zim police from the border until u get to Byo.On the same day I met another Botswana guy who visited Zimbabwe last month and the police checked everything on his car and found nothing wrong then ended up asking for a dust bin in a private car.The guy told me that he paid a bribe of $3 so that they wld let him go.He said he was further quizzed why he was speaking shona when he was a Botwana national.On the next roadblock he was asked if he was the Botswana national who was speaking Shona.He said yes is it a crime,then they asked him to go.Honestly how can our police rob our foreigners day light.

truezimbo - 19 May 2016

I also spent about an hour @ the border wen the border police put my car under the pitch searching for drugs and firearms.Dat was disgusting for a professional man.I then proceeded to Francistown a distance of close to 100km where I only saw one roadblock where I was never stopped and asked anything.I realised that I was actually free and respected in a foreign land than in my own country.I have travelled in many countries ie SA,Tanzania,Zambia,Namibia and UK.So far the most harassing and corrupt are the Zimbabwean police who harass both locals and foreigners.Totizirepi? We become prisoners in our own country.I hope one day Zimbabwe will normalise and all this madness will end.

truezimbo - 19 May 2016

I travel daily from the airport to dzivarasekwa and encounter 8 road blocks daily minimum, 1 at the intersection of harare street and airport road, 2 at the sorting office round about, 3 near Matapi turn off, 4 near Colcom, 5 near Christ Embabsy church in Belverdere, 6 at National heroes acre, 7 at N. Richards turn off, 8 at Byo road turn off to Dzivarasekwa. This is a distance of less than 40km and surely i think this is more than too much especially for someone travelling to work. I am not sure how many officers are committed in these and how many are left at the stations as this has an impact on other duties at the stations like attending to criminal cases.

i. moyo - 19 May 2016

that is true i think its now open to thoz who hate mdc that w are struggling some are enjoying at the expense of others but the leaders are claiming to be children from the same mother .How come ?.Lets see how the next election are to be done .Lord have mercy wat are we going to do as youth we want to enjoy our freedom as Zimbabweans loosen up yor belts pliz

muzimba akakwana - 19 May 2016

The Police are harassing citizens at roadblocks and it is clear that they are not policing but fund raising from the general public. I pay my taxes every month and the Police are supposed to get their allocation for their expenses from the Treasury. I live in Marondera and drive to Harare everyday and I go through up to 10 roadblocks to be able to get to work. As Citizens we should say enough is enough the police must stop harassing citizens pretending to protect them

Micah Majiwa - 19 May 2016

The Police are harassing citizens at roadblocks and it is clear that they are not policing but fund raising from the general public. I pay my taxes every month and the Police are supposed to get their allocation for their expenses from the Treasury. I live in Marondera and drive to Harare everyday and I go through up to 10 roadblocks to be able to get to work. As Citizens we should say enough is enough the police must stop harassing citizens pretending to protect them

Kufahakurotwi - 19 May 2016

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