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Fueling chaos

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Puludzu

The meandering fuel queues that our country continues to witness, which have been a common feature over the past three months, speak volumes of how much we have lost in terms of being productive since a lot of effort by the citizenry is now being channeled towards hunting for fuel.

Instead of pushing workload in offices or business premises so that at the end of the day everyone earns their keep, the opposite is happening on the ground, which if we are not careful might just put a dent on the country’s aggregate economic earnings.

It has come to a point where people are now literary having to spend their nights on a queue, abandoning their families and related chores just so they can acquire a drop of this precious liquid. In fact, this is even more disturbing because a lot of issues can creep in such as security being compromised in the homes and on the social front, families might as well be shaken since others might use the fuel scarcity as a convenient excuse to go out on ‘other’ escapades.

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One would therefore understand how frustrated people have become over the development such that it was not surprising to see some of them venting that frustration by booing the country’s first citizen last weekend in the Capital Lilongwe.

What seems to get a lot of people cheesed off is the fact that the authorities seem not to be concerned that people are spending a large portion of their time on fuel lines.

It is a pity that desperation has driven some motorists onto the black market, where the fuel that is offered is often tampered with and this exposes the vehicles to more harm, as is often the case with ‘quick fixes’. But then, desperate times call for desperate measures!

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The President should have, by now, put a parachute on the back of his Minister of Energy or whosoever is responsible for procuring fuel so that things should move at supersonic speed.

Indeed, It is my conviction too that had it been that the people who were put in authority to steer the exercise of procuring fuel and ensuring that it is available in abundance were doing just that in pure earnest, we would not have been in this position where we are now wasting precious time going on a fuel-hunt.

I tried to follow with keen interest over the weekend a presser which was convened by the Minister of Energy, Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) CEO and the government spokesperson but sadly, I found that the key speakers kept waffling and instead of focusing on the crisis at hand, some of them kept telling us about plans they have which would perhaps take years to materialise and yet what the public wanted to hear was about the prevailing situation.

Put simply, they did not sound pretty convincing with their responses. By now, we should have fully explored the various alternatives at our disposal in as far as procurement of fuel is concerned and just may be, somewhere therein, could lie our answer. And why is it that the energy sector is the one that is constantly giving us no joy? If it is not fuel then it is electricity blackouts. I am now inclined to believe that indeed fuel has become a ‘political’ commodity and if an immediate solution will not be found quickly, it might lead to a disruption of service delivery (if it has not already).

Amid all the chaos, one has to spare a thought for those rendering emergency and essential services who, in order to run errands, they have to have enough fuel in their vehicles. I am talking about the likes of paramedics, firefighters and police officers.

Perhaps at the rate we are going, it would be wise after all to give serious consideration to suggestions that some people are making that it could be time we probably parked our vehicles for a little while until such a time the fuel situation stabilizes; those that can afford to work from home then by all means they should explore that avenue.

But all of this ‘mind-wandering’ expedition is coming in just because of the tough fuel situation, whose end, it appears, is nowhere in sight as the officials, from the look of things, seemingly continue to enjoy a ‘hiatus’.

Ladies and gentlemen, we cannot continue moving like this; somebody must anchor this shaky fuel ship before it tumbles.

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