Call it a sign of the times.
Pedestrians today witnessed a big fight between motorists as the scramble for Malawi's drying fuel resources continues.
The scene was the Petroda Filling Station near Andrex Building in Blantyre. Cause? Short fuel supplies.
Motorist John Khoviwa, driving a Toyota Condor, could not stomach it when a man only identified as George Mapira arrived at the filling station some three hours later, only to overtake Khoviwa. The latter had spent six hours waiting for his turn.
Khoviwa thus landed a heavy blow on Mapira's neck, sending him sprawling to the ground. The venom is Mapira's voice snapped other motorists out of their reverie, but they could do nothing but watch because they perceived Khoviwa, who arrived in a Toyota VX, as someone 'uncivilised'.
For two hours, the two men tumbled and struggled on the ground, rose and fell again- all the while fuel attendants were too busy to separate the two, who pedestrians- who sometimes have to endure pain at the hands of drivers who spill mud and dirty water at them in the name of being business-minded- watched in awe at the weak brows of men forced into the cave of tiredness by the steering wheel.
Khoviwa, who at this time had already been hit by a beer bottle twice, had to thank two Police officers who came to his rescue. The officers had to leave unroadworthy commuter minibuses and other vehicles to restore peace at the filling station.
And, to the chagrin of watchers of the free-to-watch fight, Khoviwa rushed to his vehicle, forgot about refueling, and headed becak home to Kameza Round-about (instead of Blantyre Central District he professed to have been going).
Only then did peace return at Mbayani Petroda Filling Station; only then could the two police officers go back to the business of directing vehicles, impounding unroadworthy ones, and cautioning wreckless drivers.
And this is yet another sign that fuel shortages are causing more than a rise in shelf prices.