THE current impasse surrounding the transportation of fuel must be resolved forthwith before the economy is thrown into disarray.
The political sponsors of this sabotage must be exposed.
It is very clear that the enemies of the State are at play, considering that the country has enough fuel.
Notably, fuel is the engine of economic growth without which a country cannot function well in terms of productivity.
It is thus disappointing that the matter has dragged on for days as sensitive as it is.
Firstly, a pragmatic approach and solution must be set in motion as regards the cry for the implementation of the 50 percent contracts to Zambian transporters, whose drivers are also crying over low pay and poor conditions of service.
As rightly explained, the Oil Marketing Companies Association of Zambia (OMCAZ) has struck a deal with Petroleum Transporters Association of Zambia (PTAZ) to reduce importation and transport costs from the current US$155 per metric cube to between US$125 and US$130.
This will allow the easy implementation of the 50 percent contract policy for locals to placate the domination of business by foreign transporters.
But one wonders why the protest has continued when such an initiative is underway.
Perhaps, Government, the PTAZ and the OMCAZ must, as a matter of urgency, meet and iron out the issues to forestall any economic crisis.
The drivers’ union should also be brought on board.
It will be ideal for all players to thrash out all sticky issues and thereafter speak with one voice before the fuel shortage deepens.
In the absence of dialogue, the problem will worsen and this will point to economic sabotage involving political forces.
Sabotage cannot be ruled out at this critical moment when the country is preparing to go to the general elections slated for August 12, this year.
Political parties that have smelt defeat want to redeem their fortunes through illegal means such as colluding with the tankers drivers’ union to cause mass shortage and discontent in the country.
The aim is to create an economic crisis and thereafter make political capital out of it.
The tankers drivers’ protest is certainly in close proximity with the opposition’s cry over the vote’rs register and their subsequent protest to the African Union and SADC.
Sentiments from the opposition of late have a semblance of crying over defeat even before the election is conducted and there is a likelihood of resorting to covert tactics in a desperate attempt to arrest the plummeting fortunes.
It is time Government moved very fast to forestall any crisis because if the fuel shortage worsens, the matter will likely trigger negative sentiments in the economy and political circles.
Therefore, Transport and Communications Minister, Mutotwe Kafwaya, and his Energy counterpart, Matthew Nkhuwa must work extra hard to resolve this matter.
Just as energy expert, Johnstone Chikwanda, has pointed out, the energy sector requires diplomacy and a steady flow of fuel because it is very, very sensitive.
There must never be any altercation among players in this critical sector, which requires guaranteed security and steady flow of the commodity.
The Zambian economy is already bleeding and must not be sabotaged by power-hungry elements.