Rumour mill


This must be the only country where people pray for misfortune, to achieve political mileage.

They love to hear the country will face a fuel shortage and even predict the shortage on account of rumours of a contaminated feedstock consignment that Government has rejected.  By estimating a replacement shipment they can already conclude a shortage will occur and quickly they announce the prediction.

This is a country where a food shortage will be predicted with tremendous glee and anticipation because it will show how incompetent Government has been in failing to bring about the normal rainfall.

And when in anticipation of the shortage Government announces measures to import maize, the opposition cried foul because it will be denied the opportunity to prove its prediction.

Such is the nature of our politics.

 This would be funny if it was not so serious. Sadly some of our citizens peddle rumours to drive panic in the public in an effort to discredit Government and win popularity.

Understandably this is an election year and all politicians would love to derive maximum support from the suffering Zambians out of the perceived maladministration by the ruling party.

We however believe that patriotism should be every Zambians conviction.

No human being prides in the suffering of others even if the control of political power is the main motivation in spreading falsehoods.

But negative prediction seems to have become the strategy of choice among opposition parties which seem to have no other message than finger pointing.

While it is understood that Zambia is undergoing social and economic challenges induced mostly by external influences, no-one should add salt to the predicament.

Take the rumoured shortage of fuel stocks in the country as an example.

When Government discovered that Gunvor, the feedstock supplier, had again delivered contaminated crude oil, it stopped attempts to pump the crude oil to Indeni Refinery in Ndola.

From previous experience, allowing such stock into the system would have caused tremendous damage and devastation to the Indeni Refinery as the case was last year when similar polluted feedstock was delivered and pumped into the Tazama pipeline.

Government did not leave a vacuum, as the Energy permanent secretary Emeldah Chola assured the nation that there was no need for panic as Government had put in place contingent measures in which finished fuel products would be imported into the country.

Brigadier General Chola also said the contamination of the feedstock would be investigated. She gave very detailed information to assure the cynical Zambian public.

As of February 1, 2016, she said the available national stock levels in the Government depots was 36 million litres of diesel (16 days of national consumption) and 5.8 million litres of petrol (five days of national consumption).

The figures did not include the stock that the Oil Marketing Companies had in their storage facilities.

 But despite such message of assurance of available fuel stocks, the rumour mill is viral, proclaiming a shortage of fuel in Lusaka.

But this is not only pertaining to fuel stocks in the country.

When President Edgar Lungu announced proactive measures to import maize if there will be a crop failure this year, the pessimists went over-drive, claiming exhausted food reserves.

But as things have turned out, there are enough national maize reserves to last up to the next crop harvest season.

All well-meaning Zambians should condemn such desperate tactics of trying to make Zambians rise against Government.

Zambians should arm themselves with analytical skills to counter social platform misinformation so that they can make informed choices.

Categorized | Editorial

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