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‘Unmask the real agitators of the tank drivers’

Dear Editor,

IT is inconceivable that barely six months after the government revised the conditions of service for the fuel tank drivers, suddenly the drivers could lament on the conditions of service in the sector.

There is need to unmask the real motive behind the work protest by the essential workers on this critical sector. This is beyond the reach of the realistic grievance in any event there is a dispute.

The events of the weekend to the extent normal business grind to a halt are quite strange as at no point in time has our Zambian driver’s disturbed business in their pursuit for haulage contracts. This brings an apprehension of the invisible hands of the elite parading the drivers to fight their battles.

Having carefully examined the grievances of the protesting drivers presented to Transport and Communications Minister Mutotwe Kafwaya, it can be discerned that this is purely a dispute between transporters and the Oil Marketing Companies.

Our other observation is that the dispute also arises on the perceived unfair treatment of the truck drivers in the foreign countries while the same is not the case for their counterparts when they come to do their business in Zambia.

In an event the disputes was on the contracts, the Oil Marketing Companies were the appropriate forum as per their contractual grievances procedures.

If the disputes related to the conditions of service, there is enough room without disturbing the normal course of the businesses of Zambians and if it related to their treatment in foreign countries, there are line ministries that could transmit their grievances without making unnecessary headlines.

It is very disheartening that the Zambians could on their own choose to disrupt commerce and this is an eye opener to the relevant authorities to conduct a comprehensive audit on the ownership of the trucks that were parked.

In corporate personality, it is possible for a company to be incorporated as a Zambian company yet it has foreign origin. There is also need to ascertain if there is any inappropriate connections with the owners of the trucks.

The Zambian truck drivers cannot be unpatriotic to punish their own brothers and sisters by going on the work stoppage over their misunderstandings with other stakeholders.

This evidently was the sponsored economic shut down by real owners of the trucks disguising themselves as Zambian transporters. Fuel is the essential commodity therefore these suspicious work stoppages by drivers could be acts of sabotage.

MARVIN CHANDA MBERI,

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