A meeting schedule to take place between Government and the Zambian Truckers Association and Petroleum Association failed to take off after police failed to heed to demands from the associations.
The association leaders were demanding for the release of their colleagues who were detained for berating up a security guard who shot dead their colleague on Tuesday in Lusaka.
The leaders have since refused to dialogue with government until their demands are met.
By lunch time on Friday, the truck drivers were threatening to leave the premises owing to delays by police to release their colleagues who are in police custody.
The protest by the two associations has caused a serious fuel shortage in most parts of Lusaka.
And Energy Minister Dora Siliya has called for calm and patience among motorists in Lusaka as Government intervenes in the matter.
In a statement, Ms Siliya who is currently out of the country assured that all is being done to avert the worsening of the fuel situation.
‘I am currently out of Zambia but I have been informed about the fuel shortage since yesterday. My understanding is that one oil marketing company has been suspecting foul play in the quality of the oil delivered by a particular truck driver. As such they trailed the driver to a private yard where they suspected he intended to remove some fuel and replace it with water or kerosene,’ she said.
‘A confrontation occurred resulting in the OMC security firm shooting at the driver. I believe this has resulted in other truck drivers protesting by refusing to deliver fuel to filling stations,’ Ms Siliya revealed.
‘I will only be able to know the full details when I return tomorrow and will update you. In the mean time the Ministry is doing all to normalise the situation. Honourables Mwila and Kampyongo are still in meeting with the fuel truck drivers’
She said her Deputy Charles Zulu met with the truck drivers last night to plead for them to continue delivering fuel even after their colleague was shot dead.
‘However the request was unattainable as most were drank and uncontrollable and some were found with dangerous weapons. This forced the police to intervene and arrest some drivers. Hon Mwila is still in a meeting with the drivers. .I will keep you updated.’
Meanwhile, the Energy Regulation Board has assured the nation that Zambia still has enough fuel stocks.
ERB Manager for Public Relations Kwali Mfuni said in a statement that the ERB and Government are engaging the transporters to ensure that the situation is normalised as soon as possible.
‘The ERB would like to urge all players in the petroleum sector to comply with all laid sown procedures and standards as well as promote dialogue in the event of any dialogue,’ Ms. Mfuni said.
But most of the fuel stations visited in Lusaka still did not have fuel as at lunch time on Friday.