Soldiers and police direct motorists as they queue for petrol in Harare, Zimbabwe. File picture: REUTERS

Harare - The Zimbabwe fuel crisis that culminated in deadly protests when government hiked prices is fast returning to normal.

Long winding queues seen over the festive holidays  have all but disappeared with most garages able to service motorists.

Blessing Shumba, a petrol attendant in Harare's Belvedere suburb said the supplies were back to normal.

"Petrol and diesel are now readily available. I do not know whether it is because of the price increases,"he said.

The country was plunged into violent demonstrations on January 14, a day after President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced a 150% petrol and and diesel hike. 

At least 12 people were shot dead and 78 left with serious gunshot wounds after the army opened fire on protesters demonstrating about the new price of $3.31 per litre for petrol  and $3.11 for diesel.

The new prices had a domino effect on the price of other essential goods and public transport that also spiraled out of the reach of most.

With business back to normal in the CBD and fuel readily available, government has been quick to take credit for the positive developments.

Energy and and Power Development  Minister Joram Gumbo told The Herald newspaper that the government intervention had eliminated price distortions.

"Before the price adjustments, people were speculating and this led to hoarding of the commodity. Now that people have realised fuel is available at the latest prices , there is no longer hoarding, " he said.

The Star