logs daily as queues wind sometimes in three coils round the block and motorists wait for around six hours to be served. In the suburbs, people sleep in their cars overnight in lines three or four kilometres long.
Often the reward is minimal. Many service stations ration their customers to between five and 10 litres. But the need is frequently desperate, demonstrated by the many people who push their vehicles along as the queue inches forward. At points along the queues, knots of people can be seen talking, often animatedly.
“These queues have become unofficial MDC rallies,” said service station attendant Michael Chikona. “Everybody shouts about Mugabe and Zanu (PF).”
The situation is as bad for the urban poor who don’t have cars, but use paraffin for cooking and lighting. The fuel is just as hard to get and people carrying five litre plastic bottles can spend whole days waiting. The biting cold weather sweeping across Zimbabwe has also markedly worsened the discomfort.
“If anyone shouted “pamberi neZanu (PF)” (forward with Zanu (PF), the ruling party slogan) around here, they would be lynched,” said a garage owner who asked not to be named.
Post published in: News