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Confused confusionists

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It was orderly at first; the long wait for fuel on never-ending queues.

And there was hope. No matter how it took, one would always get their turn at the fuel pump.

And that was becoming our way of life.

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Not a good one, but, at least, we were making it day by day.

No more.

Fuel, like hope, has been running short in this country.

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As at now, most vehicles have been withdrawn from the streets and roads of Lilongwe, the capital, and Blantyre, the commercial city.

Even in Mzuzu, the Green City, is experiencing a mass exodus of vehicles from the streets and roads and family parking grounds.

This is because petrol, one of those petroleum products, has been as scarce as the bumper of a plane.

At least those who use diesel-powered vehicles are lucky. The commodity has been available in most parts of the country, which is understandable because, due to incessant power outages, industry players have been depending on diesel-run generators.

In the absence of diesel, industry players suffer and the economy suffers a battering, too. That is why it is commendable that diesel is being found on the market.

The challenge is with petrol, which has become the most sought after commodity on the market. On the black market, it is fetching as high as K5,000 per litre.

In the Central Region, in district such as Salima, 20 litres of petrol has been fetching as high as K70,000. Surely, what was a silent crisis has become one loud crisis.

The problem is, those who are supposed to prove the requisite information seem to be confused.

Take, for instance, Energy Minister Ibrahim Matola. At the press conference on Saturday, he chose to dwell more on the past than the present, claiming that the fuel supply crisis haunting Malawi now cannot be compared to that of 2012, when the fuel pumps ran dry.

He said, in 2012, the country was taken by surprise, more so because it did not have strategic fuel reserves. Now that the reserves were inaugurated in 2014, he said, the current fuel crisis should not be as painful.

This, Dear Pain, is more confusing than silence. I mean, now that we have strategic fuel reserves, why should the commodity run dry? The opposite was supposed to be true.

Even government spokesperson Gospel Kazako did nothing to assuage our pain. He only acknowledged that Malawians are in pain. Then what? Nothing.

What Malawians need are answers. They do not want assurances.

Even the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) has been speaking in parables. Last week, the authority’s spokesperson Fitina Khonje indicated that the problem of fuel scarcity was a product of the problem of forex shortage.

In other words, she was saying the current situation is beyond Mera’s control because Mera has nothing to do with forex generation.

There you go. We, as a nation, are a confused lot. Problem is, those who confuse others end up getting confused.

But, then, as policymakers and officer-bearers lie this and that way, things are getting out of hand in this country. In other words,

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