A recent Timesonline article carries a terrible story about Nomatter Tagarira, a spirit medium, who had fooled the Zimbabwean government by claiming that she could conjure refined diesel out of a rock by striking it with her staff just like Moses of the Bible used to do. In other words, Ms Tagarira wanted to be today’s Moses (Mose walero) for Zimbabwe.

After witnessing her apparently miraculous gift, ministers in President Robert Mugabe’s government gave her five billion Zimbabwean dollars in cash (worth £1.7 million at at that time) in return for the fuel.Ms Tagarira was also given a farm, said to have been seized from its white owner during Mr Mugabe’s lawless land grab, as well as food and services that included a round-the-clock armed guard on the rock in the district of Chinhoyi 60 miles (100km) from Harare, the capital. But more than a year later, the officials realized they had been duped. Ms Tagarira is now in custody, awaiting trial on charges of fraud or, alternatively, of being “a criminal nuisance”.

This story is just a further confirmation of the nightmare of hyperinflation, famine and infra-structural collapse that Zimbabwe, which was once one of Africa’s most prosperous countries, is undergoing. But coming hot on the heels of the “miracle” fuel saga, is an exciting development which every Zimbabwean must be proud of. Last month, President Robert Mugabe commissioned the first biodiesel production plant in the country. The new US$80 million biodiesel fuel plant, located about 15 kilometres north-west of Harare, is a joint venture between the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and a South Korean energy technology firm. This plant has the capacity to produce 100 million litres of biodiesel annually at its peak from cotton seed, soya beans, jatropha and sunflower seed. President Mugabe told guests at the plant’s official opening that

As a nation we have once again demonstrated that the ill-fated sanctions against the innocent people of Zimbabwe can never subdue our resilience and inner propulsion to succeed and remain on our feet as a nation.

Soon, our economy will be paying us back the dividends of the seedlings of progression we are planting across different productive sectors. Zimbabwe was never there to collapse, is never there to collapse and will never be there to collapse.

Although I am not a fan of President Mugabe’s strong speeches against the West, I am very excited with the opening of the biodiesel plant in Zimbabwe. I just hope that this plant will go a long way in solving Zimbabwe’s economic problems. But I have one small question here. If the biodiesel plant revolutionizes Zimbabwe’s economy as desired by most of us, will it create an African Chavez in Mugabe? Well, that aside, let me urge Malawi and other countries in the Sub Saharan Africa region to emulate Zimbabwe’s example.

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