THE prevailing fuel, particularly petrol crisis, that has hit Zimbabwe is an epitome of failure on the part of the regime and this, coming ahead of the festive season, can only mean troubled times ahead.
Even what is apparent spin by the National Oil Infrastructure Company (NOIC) and corroborated by government mandarins that the crisis was a result of an unscheduled maintenance exercise at pumping stations in Mozambique, should give no one any comfort.
That should be frowned upon as it is dereliction of duty by a whole government that should naturally be alive to such eventualities and plan ahead.
What should make Zimbabweans panic more is inefficiency on the part of government in the areas of forward thinking and planning.
More baffling even is the conspicuous silence by Energy minister Soda Zhemu when such a crisis happens.
Imagine how much has been lost in potential revenue by the government and individuals as a result of this mess but to President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his government, silence amid such a crippling development is “golden.”
Not a word from the government when, for a week, Zimbabwe was dry without petrol.
Had it not been for inquiries by NewsDay to the NOIC board after observing a simmering crisis, Zimbabweans would have never known what was slowly hitting them.
Consequently, what awaits Zimbabwe is a spike in prices, transport fares as the festive season beckons.
What has never been understood also is the discrepancy between the prices of fuel in Zimbabwe and those of other countries in the region.
A snap check shows that petrol in South Africa is selling at ZAR19,180 which is converted to US$1,20 a litre while in Zambia, it is set at US$0,88 cents per litre.
In Zimbabwe, petrol is at US$1,42 and according to the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd) Zimbabwe has the most expensive fuel in the Sadc region.
The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority takes pleasure in hiking prices of fuel almost every month since the beginning of the year, contrary to government claims that fuel prices are stable.
The fuel prices are way above the Sadc averages of US$0,98 for diesel and US$1,01 for petrol.
Zimcodd says the country pays more in fuel costs than other countries which bears the same geographical characteristics, which contributes to a rise in inflation.
Why pay US$0,40 and US$0,39 more per litre of diesel and petrol, respectively, than the regional average?
Whatever politics playing up in the fuel sector must come to an end and along with it, the monopoly and apparent capture of the industry by a connected few.
Those controlling the fuel sector are politicians and their fronts.
This monopoly is unhealthy on all fronts and must end now.