31 March 2017
The criticism over roadblocks has continued to mount and despite calls by Minister of Home Affairs Dr Ignatius Chombo that they will be reduced, the situation seems to have worsened.
It has been argued in some cases that the roadblocks though they are meant to bring good to the travelling public, have actually brought frustration.
And this criticism also comes as a recent Visitor Exit Survey report revealed that roadblocks had contributed to the negative perception about the country.
The Passengers Association of Zimbabwe say through their information gathering, the public has continued to complain on the issue of many roadblocks which are on the roads.
“Most people find the presence of chains of road blocks frustrating, as they fail to get to work or school on time and miss important appointments.
“It has become a common thing that people are always delayed. Traffic jams or congestion due to road blocks mounted during morning rush hour are common.
“At times people end up arriving at their work places up to an hour later than they should.
“At times vehicles have ended up being involved in accidents due to the congestion caused by these road blocks and some end up running out of fuel. Most people have perceived that these road blocks also fuel corruption instead of production.
“These road blocks should be seriously reduced or phased out in order to improve individuals’ ease of movement, as well as promote productivity and ease of doing business. This will also improve the country’s image to visitors,” said PAZ president Tafadzwa Goliati.
On a trip from Chitungwiza to the City centre, one encounters at least four roadblocks which has led to traffic jams especially along Seke Road at an area known as ‘pama orange’.
And indeed as evidenced that these roadblocks have negatively impacted on the visitors’ perception, the VES report revealed that “reasons for negative perceptions are poor infrastructure and other facilities, harassment by police, immigration and customs.”
And on the report recommendations it was said that “in order to retain the reputation of Zimbabwe being a hospitable nation there is need to ensure continuous training of frontline personnel who interact with visitors creating the first and last impressions on the destination such as immigration, customs and police.”
From the total number of visitors who were interviewed and said they would not come back again or recommend others to visit, harassment by police stood at 43,2 percent, , harassment by customs (ZIMRA) 14,7 percent and harassment by immigration 8,7 percent.
While promising that roadblocks will be reduced, Minister Chombo also added that the public were supposed to be aware that they (roadblocks) are a tool for the ZRP to maintain law and order.
Hence we are likely to have many of these on our roads for a while longer.