World

Say cheese! Police in Zimbabwe get trained in art of smiling to put tourists at ease

  • A police officer smiles after stopping a vehicle in Harare, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014 on World Smile Day.  According to  Zimbabwe's deputy Minster of Home Affairs Ziyambi Ziyambi whose ministry is in charge of the police, the hospitality agency would conduct "smiling"  training sessions to make the law enforcers friendlier towards tourists and motorists. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

    A police officer smiles after stopping a vehicle in Harare, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014 on World Smile Day. According to Zimbabwe's deputy Minster of Home Affairs Ziyambi Ziyambi whose ministry is in charge of the police, the hospitality agency would conduct "smiling" training sessions to make the law enforcers friendlier towards tourists and motorists. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)  (The Associated Press)

  • A police officer smiles while inspecting a motorist licence in Harare, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014 on World Smile Day.  According to  Zimbabwe's deputy Minster of Home Affairs Ziyambi Ziyambi whose ministry is in charge of the police, the hospitality agency would conduct "smiling"  training sessions to make the law enforcers friendlier towards tourists and motorists. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

    A police officer smiles while inspecting a motorist licence in Harare, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014 on World Smile Day. According to Zimbabwe's deputy Minster of Home Affairs Ziyambi Ziyambi whose ministry is in charge of the police, the hospitality agency would conduct "smiling" training sessions to make the law enforcers friendlier towards tourists and motorists. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)  (The Associated Press)

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.

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

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.

Some Zimbabweans are skeptical about the smile policy, citing concerns about police corruption. Willard Shupai, a resident of the capital, Harare, says what really makes a police officer smile is money.