The Malawi Defence Force [MDF] started their security services on Friday, 1st October, 2021 amid the increasing scarcity of fuel. The escorting of fuel tankers and distribution of fuel to gas stations in the country follows the sit-in of drivers for tankers. Drivers for fuel tankers are holding sit-in in protest because government is not addressing their long time grievances and concerns to look at their salaries demanded to be at MK140,000 per month and this has also forced owners of trucks to pull out their trucks along the roads of Malawi.
Minister of Information, Hon. Gospel Kazako is quoted in the media on Thursday challenging fuel transporters that Government can even choose to start importing fuel and buying even 500 plus tankers on its own suspecting sabotage on the part of the driver’s strike. Hon. Kazako assured Malawians that President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera is committed to be a servant leader and will always be with Malawians that are sailing through a sea of challenges which have been there from the previous administrations. In a statement released by the MDF’s Acting Public Information Officer Major Emmanuel Kelvin Mlelemba, says armed military escort will be provided to fuel tankers from the country’s borders to National Oil Company of Malawi [NOCMA] depots and distribution from depots to commercial gas stations will be done by military drivers. The MDF has appealed to members of the general public to avoid interfering with the operation as it is in line with one of its constitutional roles of providing technical expertise and resources to assist the civilian authorities in the maintenance of essential services in times of emergency in the country. …’’The MDF will carry on with the exercise until the situation normalizes,’’…reads part of the statement. As of 8;00 pm of Thursday, fuel was already delivered at Mt. Meru- Nyambadwe and Puma Nyambadwe in Blantyre under MDF escort and other tankers were on transit to deliver at Puma Soche, Petroda Tsiranana-Limbe and Petroda-Kameza loaded are currently waiting for MDF soldiers from Zomba to drive the tankers and deliver. In Central Region, fuel was already delivered at PUMA Area 18, Puma Area 47 by MDF drivers and other tankers loaded were waiting for Malawi Police Service [MPS] drivers to deliver it at Mt. Meru-Area 49, Bunda, Lumbadzi, Stadium and Bunda turn off.
Writing on his official Face book page, Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority [MERA] Chief Executive Officer [CEO] Henry Kachaje says fuel is being offloaded in various stations under MDF escort. …’’We are working around the clock to normalize the situation, no need to panic,’’…..reads Kachaje’s writing on the wall.
By Vincent Gunde