|By George ChellahMon 19 Oct. 2009, 18:22||
PATRIOTIC Front (PF) leader Michael Sata yesterday attributed the current fuel crisis to President Rupiah Banda’s corrupt activities. Sata, who was spotted at Total filling station in Lusaka’s Northmead area with a 20 litre plastic container looking for fuel, said President Banda was fully responsible for the current fuel shortage countrywide.
“Rupiah Banda has deliberately created this shortage because he knows that there will be so many people including relatives and friends who are going to try and offer him a solution to bring in fuel,” Sata said. “So Banda’s pocket by the end of this fuel shortage will be much bigger than it is already. Even the people who are going to suffer, it’s the vimasilus of Northern Province.”
Sata said the fuel crisis in the country was not funny but touching.
“The President is fully aware of the shortage of fuel and he is using this shortage as a fundraising venture. How does he himself say he is going to give 25 per cent rebate on duty when it has not even been passed in Parliament?” Sata asked. “It’s not even in the budget. That 25 per cent rebate is supposed to come to us, to the retail. It’s not 25 per cent for the friends of Rupiah Banda. Once those people benefit from 25 per cent to bring in fuel, even the pump price must come down by 25 per cent.”
Sata said he felt sorry for President Banda.
“I sympathise with Rupiah. He is a friend of Frederick Chiluba and if he is a friend of Frederick, they only sympathise with their pockets. He doesn’t sympathise with anybody else. He is very right when he says don’t blame the OMCs. We blame his government because in the last Mwanawasa budget, there was enough for bringing in fuel for this country,” Sata said. “The fuel, which Indeni brought in, they have been selling. What have they done with that money? We know they have been using that money for their campaigns, they used the money in Chitambo, they used it in Kasama and they are already using it in Solwezi Central. Rupiah’s fully responsible and he is happy that there is shortage of fuel.”
Sata said it appears President Banda was happy with the fuel crisis and Zambians have to suffer because of his inefficiency. “Rupiah Banda is doing all these things to divert attention from the dubious sale of Zamtel, to divert attention Chiluba’s acquittal,” Sata said.
“Fuel has a multiplier effect, the manpower lost for work because of lack of fuel…people are getting to work late. People are not working because they are queuing up for fuel. All the industries depend on fuel, Zesco etc. So we are in a worse crisis than Zimbabwe.”
Meanwhile, Sata – who toured various filling stations around the city – only managed to fill up his 20 litre container at BP filling station on Cairo Road after about 2 hours of looking for the commodity.