Zimbabwe has tourism police officers who should wear bibs written “ZRP Tourism Policeman” and they are there to make sure that tourists are treated nicely, the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Ziyambi Ziyambi said last week.
He was responding to a question buy Senator Sithembile Mlotshwa who said she had witnessed a police officer along the Matopos Road telling white tourists who were cycling in the area: “I have no tolerance for white people.”
Ziyambi said he would investigate but went on to defend the police saying they were the best in the region so an isolated incident should not be ballooned to mean that the whole police force was not well behaved
He, however, said he would talk to the police chiefs to make sure that their officers had the tourism bibs.
Q & A
SENATOR MLOTSHWA: My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs. There is an outcry on police behaviour. I know the Ministry might be hiring for skills but in your policies, what do you do with the behaviour of police? We have been asking so many questions that relate to the police not behaving the way that we think they should. The sports and tourism was launched and it passed through the Ministry of Home of Affairs. I witnessed last week on my way to Matopo, a policeman harassing white men that were doing cycling as a group. They usually use the Matopos road to cycle. I just drove nearby because I wanted to hear what the policeman was saying. The policeman was saying, ‘I have no tolerance for white people’. I can give you the time so that at least you can investigate, and it happened last week. I am saying, will we succeed the sport and tourism thing if we have an attitude towards some people that come for sports in our area?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (MR.ZIYAMBI): I would like to thank the hon. senator for the question. The question is not very specific except that it relates to the white people who were cycling. In so far as she talks about the behaviour of our police officer, she did not specify in what manner. I will zero-in on what she talked about regarding the cycling white people.
MADAM PRESIDENT: I think she did mention the comments made by your policemen.
MR. ZIYAMBI: Yes, regarding that particular incident. While it is regrettable that such a comment was made, we need to investigate that. However, I would like to say that with regards to tourism we are working closely with the Ministry of Hospitality and Tourism with a view of training our police officers so that they can handle those tourists who visit our country well, be hospitable and treat them nicely. With regards to our tourists, we are very sensitive in that particular area. We have some bibs which are written, ‘ZRP Tourism Policeman’. We want them when they see our tourists to greet them nicely and tell them about our country. It is a process that we are undertaking. However, I would like to say our police officers are very much behaved. I would say in the region, we have one of the best police officers. An isolated incident cannot then be ballooned to mean that the whole of our police force is not well behaved. I thank you.
SENATOR MLOTSHWA: Thank you Hon. Minister for answering. You say you have police wearing bibs that should take care of the tourists, I notice that the road that I am talking about Matopos road has so much trafficking for tourism. They go there for the national park and there are so many areas or tourism, that is where the grave of Cecil John Rhodes is. I have never seen that kind of policeman taking care of tourists in that area. What is the criterion of earmarking an officer into a certain area?
MR. ZIYAMBI: What I have explained is what we are doing. However, regarding that specific area, we are going to get in touch with our Police Commanders to ensure that they become more visible and they behave in the manner that we like so that we can attract tourists. I thank you.