Excessive police roadblocks not good for brand Zim

A British journalist recently came to Zimbabwe and wrote an ebullient article on the country, except there was one blight, the numerous police roadblocks, where him and his family had to part with money for minor or sometimes non-existent defects on their car.

Comment: NewsDay Editor

There are several such stories that have been narrated in the past, with a hotel reportedly offering a discount equivalent to the traffic fines its guests would have racked up on their way to its lodgings.

There is a realisation that the increasing number of roadblocks has a detrimental effect on tourism and there is need for urgent government intervention to address the matter.

Tourism players have often complained about this issue and the government so far has paid a deaf ear, oblivious to how this is affecting “brand Zimbabwe”.

There can be no justification whatsoever of having three or more police checkpoints on a stretch that is barely 100km long, and the question many have asked is: Is there a need for so many roadblocks?

So far, the police and Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo have posited unconvincing reasons on why there are so many roadblocks, with the latter, at some point, claiming this helped improve the security situation in the country.

On the contrary, the presence of so many police officers on the road projects an image of insecurity and high risk, which again does not auger well for Zimbabwe’s brand.

We are not saying police officers should leave the highways, but there are too many roadblocks on the roads and they are probably duplicating each other’s roles.

The government needs to strike a balance between policing and the need to increase tourist arrivals, because, as it stands, the two are working at cross-purposes.

Zimbabwe needs all the tourists it can get to improve its economy and its brand, which are in tatters and the government cannot afford to be this indifferent on a matter that keeps on being raised.

If the government is serious about luring tourists, then the Home Affairs and Tourism ministries must come up with a strategy on how the police should handle tourists in a way that will make them want to return to the country.

We are not saying tourists should be given the carte blanche to do as they please and violate the country’s traffic laws, rather we want the question of excessive police roadblocks addressed.

Tourism is more critical than ever, as it the only sector that can bring immediate returns to the economy and there is need to treat it carefully, failure to do that will be fatal for the country.



  1. It is not just tourists who are being harassed by these roadblocks. Why do people continue to tolerate such abuse from the police ?

    I have lived in Canada for fifteen years,, have been driving the last twelve years. During all this time, I have never come across a roadblock ! It is obvious you do not need roadblocks to enforce traffic laws. What is so unique about Zimbabwe that, all other countries do not use roadblocks at this rate.
    We all know, Zimbabwe roadblocks are set up as a cash cow to rob drivers of cash.It is daylight robbery.

    Only the people of Zimbabwe can put a stop to this corruption. So far clearly Zimbabweans are tolerating the abuse.

  2. Zimbabwe is not at war and the spurious reason of maintaining security is just far fetched. I have traveled on many of the country’s highways and have witnessed how frustrating these sham roadblocks can be especially if one is using public transport. These so called roadblocks can sometimes be two kilometers apart in the middle of nowhere and i am yet to be schooled on the security threats emanating from those scorching forests.

    In the majority of cases the police officers manning such roadblocks will be asking for the same documents/the same questions and it is really foolish to believe that a traveler who would be coming from as far as Beit bridge will still be doing it legally.

    The roadblocks are needlessly duplicated because there are loopholes and some are created when the need arise. Traffic law enforcement leaks like a sieve and that is why those Noahs and many rural buses and combis continue to ply even when they clearly lack in terms of documentation and maybe dangerously overloaded. As long as they have paid then all is well.

    What is the point of mounting roadblocks which catalyze breaking of traffic laws and not enforcing them? If they,roadblocks,are not there to ensure that travelers travel safely then we do not need them. I have gone outside the country on countless times and have used foreign registered vehicles many a time especially on the way back. Traffic officers literally duplicate ZIMRA roles where travelers are asked to produce declaration forms,bags are searched etc,and how then do we tout our country as tourist destination?

    Roadblocks should serve their primary purpose and not be used as fundraising initiatives.

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