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Zimbabwe police are told to smile

03 October 2014, 23:01

Harare - Zimbabwe is telling its police officers to lighten up — with smiles.

The southern African country is launching a training program to get police to "say cheese" more often in hopes of winning over tourists who go to see Victoria Falls and other sights.

"A smile can change a lot," Ziyambi Ziyambi, deputy home affairs minister, said Thursday.

Ziyambi told Parliament in September that Zimbabwe's hospitality agency would conduct sessions to make police more friendly toward visitors.

Also read: Ugandan doctor with Ebola treated in Germany

Tourists driving through the country often encounter roadblocks with grave-faced officers. Zimbabwe's economy is struggling, and the government is trying to revive its tourist industry to bring in badly needed revenue.

In a telephone interview, police spokeswoman Charity Charamba said she could not provide details of the smiling program.

"But I can tell you I am smiling," she said.

Some Zimbabweans are skeptical about the smile policy, citing concerns about police corruption.

"The only thing that can make a policeman smile is money," said Willard Shupai, a resident of the capital, Harare.

- AP


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