|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
On Monday a commission of inquiry is expected to deliver a report on the fuel shortages, which have seen queues extending for hundreds of metres outside petrol stations.
The state-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper - whose government-related content is largely dictated by information minister Jonathan Moyo - said the inquiry had found that private distributors were hoarding fuel to drive up prices.
But independent media outlets speculated that Zimbabwe's deal with Libya, the source of most of the oil the cash-strapped country uses, was in trouble.
Bargaining with Tripoli
Energy Minister Reuben Marumahoko told the Sunday Mail that the state-owned Noczim fuel company was releasing the usual amounts of petrol and diesel.
Zimbabwe's normal daily consumption of 1.9 million litres of diesel and 1.2 million litres of petrol was being met in full, he insisted.
That meant it had to be distributors causing the trouble, he said, although he also blamed foreign truckers - probably helped by immigration officials - for coming into Zimbabwe to fill up with subsidised fuel.
But the South African Sunday Times newspaper saw it differently, and warned that Zimbabwe's catastrophic foreign currency shortage, as well as the damage to agriculture from the government's land reforms and from drought, meant it was unable to fulfil its side of the bargain with Libya.
A new deal with Tripoli for US$30m (£19.2m) of petrol a month was signed on 11 September this year, but $63m in outstanding arrears from the old deal meant Libya wanted hard cash before releasing any more fuel, the paper said.