- Associated Press - Friday, October 3, 2014

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — 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.

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.

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