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Zambia: Tensions Continue Over Severe Fuel Shortages

Zambians are bemoaning looming fuel shortages in the country where Kabwe, a town that links the city of Lusaka and the Copperbelt province is already facing severe shortages with motorists queuing for hours to buy the commodity. Fuel shortages in Zambia are not a new phenomenon whenever the Indeni plant shuts down, sometimes for maintenance.

The Indeni plant is where imported crude delivered via the Tazama pipeline is processed into finished products; diesel, petrol and kerosene. Zambian citizens are incensed by the fact that President Michael Sata’s PF government donated five million liters of fuel to Malawi barely a month ago. This seems to evoke feelings of bitterness especially in those who did not vote for the president during the previous elections.

Fuel cans. Image by Stanley Kubrock from eufrika.org (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0).

Fuel cans. Image by Stanley Kubrock from eufrika.org (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0).

The Zambian Watchdog reports:

The crude oil importation deals entered by the PF government are finally being felt in various parts of the country through fuel shortages.
In Kabwe, motorists have been queueing for Petrol and Diesel for four days now whilst brothers and sisters in Malawian are enjoying the abundant fuel ‘donated’ by the generous neighbouring PF government in Zambia.

The story continues:

Sources in the Ministry of Energy have told the Watchdog that the situation is likely to worsen as the ship carrying crude oil imported by the PF government suppliers has not docked in Tanzanian port of Dar-es-Salaam forcing the Indeni plant to shut down the refinery on Monday.
The PF [ruling Patriotic Front] government is giving a few litres of fuel to selected oil marketing companies for the Zambia consumers and industries as they also have to fulfil the fuel promise to Malawi ‘within 90 days’.

Supporters in a truck celebrate the victory of opposition leader Michael Sata as he was sworn in as the fifth Zambian president. Image by Owen Miyanza, copyright Demotix (23/12/2011).

Supporters in a truck celebrate the victory of opposition leader Michael Sata as he was sworn in as the fifth Zambian president. Image by Owen Miyanza, copyright Demotix (23/12/2011).

Rio, Zambian Watchdog reader, responds:

It is not only Kabwe; some filling stations in Ndola have either no diesel or Petrol: I filled up my fuel tanks for the cars to be safe!

Another reader, Kapyololo, thinks that fuel shortages is a sign of poor governance:

Now fate is catching up with these PF goats. they thought things will be well with them when they secretly donate five million liters of fuel to Malawi. we call this carelessness. Jesus in the bible was very clear when he said do not give food meant for children to dogs otherwise your children will die of hunger. what now, fuel shortage is looming in the country. will Malawi give us our fuel? even the alleged cheap fuel which this kabimba with his mathani crookman are planning to bring in the country is not enough. come on people, lets not experiment with governance.it is costly.
don’t say kapyololo did not warn. we saw this comig

Czar has a logical explanation:

PF’s lies are what got them into government. Those of you who believed their lies and voted en mass for them should swallow your pride and admit you got it wrong. Mismanagement is the order of the day. Politics done to appease kaponyas (hustlers) will not develop this country.

Royd Moonga shares his displeasure on Zambian People’s Pact Facebook group:

WHAT A PRESIDENT :Shamelesly Kabwe hit wth FUEL SHORTAGES barely a month with PRESIDENT Sata shocking 5m litres of Fuel donation to Malawi!

Royd's sentiment is echoed by a few others such as Timothy Tslubaby Chimpangu:

it was sad,i was in kabwe that day,it was hell,we were buying fuel from the changanyas.shame on this man with his decisions.

Archritius Mwanakayaya says:

the man is shameless,the economy is hanging due 2 lack of direction by this govt

Mubiana Sitwala disagrees:

Before you call anyone shameless, identify, understand and analyse. If the issue is country wide your concern can be genuine, but this is an issolated case of Kabwe. Find out if the shortage is caused by the donation of fuel to Malawi. May i beg you to be rational in your attacks on the president.

Kanyanja writes on his Facebook wall:

The crude oil importation deals entered by the PF government are finally being felt in various parts of the country through fuel shortages.
In Kabwe, motorists have been queueing for Petrol and Diesel for four days now whilst brothers and sisters in Malawian are enjoying the abundant fuel ‘donated’ by the generous neighbouring PF government in Zambia.

Gift Mbewe reminds Zambians that this is not the first time Zambia experiences fuel shortages:

Its not the first time this is happening. It used to happen even in MMD. But the point to note is that so far no change, still the MMD mentality.

The 5 million litres of fuel were donated by Zambian government following the death of Malawi's president Bingu wa Mutharika.

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