Leonard Ncube in Victoria Falls
TOURISM players and police in Victoria Falls have blasted Chegutu West legislator Dexter Nduna for “lying” to Parliament about the robbing of tourists in hotels.
Speaking at a symposium organised by the Zimbabwe National Defence University (ZNDU) for tourism players in Victoria Falls yesterday, operators said it was untrue that 100 tourists had been robbed while booked at hotels in Victoria Falls as only five cases were recorded since 2015.
Speaking in Parliament on Thursday last week, Cde Nduna called on the Government and Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructure Development to strengthen security in resort areas to protect tourists who bring highly sought after foreign currency into the country.
Yesterday participants accused Cde Nduna of deliberately scaring away tourists by spreading unfounded falsehoods. Setting the record straight, the officer commanding Victoria Falls district Chief Superintendent Jairos Chiwona said only three cases were recorded this year, with the other two recorded in 2015.
“We are not sure where the Honourable MP got his statistics. We initially thought he could have spoken to tour operators and when we inquired they were as equally shocked by the figures,” he said.
“When we talk of robbery we are talking about using a weapon or physical force to induce fear on someone to surrender their property. So for one to say 100 cases have been recorded in four months it’s out of this world.
“Instead we recorded five cases between 2015 and this year. Two were in 2015 and three this year while last year we didn’t record any such case. I can’t say the MP lied but we have five cases only,” said Chief Supt Chiwona.
The Chronicle was told that the robberies took place at three hotels.
Speaking at the same occasion, Victoria Falls Mayor Councillor Sifiso Mpofu said they were worried as a local authority about the issue.
He said the local authority was worried about such retrogressive statements.
“We read in papers recently that 100 cases of robbery have been recorded here. That assertion is frivolously false and devoid of truth. I don’t think that even in over a decade 50 such cases were recorded and to get such sentiments from someone in Chegutu when we have a local MP here is questionable and misleading,” Cllr Mpofu said.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief operations officer Mr Givemore Chidzidzi said Cde Nduna should have verified his facts before addressing Parliament, adding that there are some places in the world where such a number of criminal cases are recorded in a day but are handled professionally not to scare tourists.
Mr Chidzidzi said there was a need for the establishment of an integrated tourism police unit to include security forces and municipal police to protect tourists. The symposium, which ends today, was organised as part of fieldwork for ZNDU Course 6 students of 2017.
Participants were drawn from students from various countries, police, Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service, tour operators as well as heads of various government departments.