both were once viewed as the singular successes in their respective regions, the envy of their neighbors. Both Mr. Gbagbo, a former history professor, and Mr. Mugabe, a serial graduate student, are highly educated men who helped liberate their countries from authoritarian regimes.
Both later clothed themselves in the racist vestments of extreme nativism. Mr. Gbagbo claimed that his rival Alassane Ouattara couldn’t stand for president because his mother wasn’t Ivorian; Mr. Mugabe disenfranchised black Zimbabweans who had blood ties to neighboring states (even though his own father is widely believed to have been Malawian).
The two countries have also been similarly plagued by north-south conflicts. And when they spiraled into failed statehood, both leaders blamed the West, in particular their former colonial powers — France and Britain — for interfering to promote regime change.
Finally, the international community imposed sanctions against both countries, including bans on foreign travel and the freezing of bank accounts, that have largely proved insufficient.
But here’s where the stories crucially diverge — why Laurent Gbagbo is no longer in power, while Robert Mugabe, who lost an election in 2008, continues to flout his people’s will. Making Mugabe Laugh, By Peter Godwin. Full link
Interesting views of the Ivorian crisis by the author of “The Fear: Robert Mugabe and the Martyrdom of Zimbabwe.” He also highlight the destructive role South Africa held in both crisis, often going against the general or at least, African consensus.