LILONGWE, Oct. 1 — The Malawi Defence Force (MDF) has stepped in to solve the fuel crisis that has hit the country following an ongoing sit-in that tanker drivers and truck owners in the country are observing.
The tanker drivers started the sit-in Wednesday over salary increment, among other demands, while truck owners, under the Transporters Association of Malawi and Fuel Transporters Association of Malawi, joined the strike Thursday to ask the government to stop giving the majority of contracts to foreign companies.
The move has led to fuel shortages across the country, bringing businesses to an abrupt stop while fares for public commuting had increased.
The situation has forced the MDF to intervene in the transportation and distribution of fuel to filling stations across the country.
A statement released Thursday signed by MDF Acting Public Information Officer, Emmanuel Kelvin Mlelemba, said from Friday, the armed military escort will be provided to fuel tankers from the country’s borders to National Oil Company of Malawi depots, and that distribution from the depots to commercial gas stations will be done by military drivers.
“The Malawi Defence Force wishes to appeal 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,” reads the statement.
It further said that the military involvement in the transportation of fuel will continue until the situation normalizes.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Malawi government, Gospel Kazako, has described the sit-in as “sabotage” and he has threatened that criminal charges will be leveled against tanker drivers who are harassing fellow drivers for not participating in the sit-in. – Xinhua