Does Jonathan Moyo know that Gbagbo was finally captured?

OPINION – The humiliating capture of Laurent Gbagbo in a white vest on Sunday by forces loyal to his rival Alassante Quattara who won presidential elections in Ivory Coast must have come as a big shock to Robert Mugabe’s ally Jonathan Moyo.

Poured scorn

In January Jonathan Moyo poured scorn at the popularly elected leader of the Ivory Coast Allasante Quattara in the same way he does to MDC-T’s Morgan Tsvangirai going as far as claiming:

"You have a candidate created by the so-called international community. Quattara is of disputed nationality, whom the courts in that country have over the years found him not to be Ivorian’ (Talkzimbabwe.com, 05/01/11).

Refuse to vacate

Despite calls by Jonathan Moyo on Gbagbo to refuse to vacate office saying ‘the so-called international community’ was meddling in Ivory Coast affairs, Quattara had the last laugh when he managed to capture a very scared and sweating Laurrent Gbagbo who is said to have shouted ‘Please don’t kill me’ in the presidential palace. As noted by other analysts, the fall of Gbagbo is a clear message to other dictators to heed the warning from the international community to think twice before stealing elections.

Contrary to claims by the state-owned Herald, the Zanu-pf leader Robert Mugabe’s name was not on the panel of five presidents named by the African Union officials in January to resolve the Ivory Coast leadership dispute. Immediately after the clarification, Jonathan Moyo and Christopher Mutsvangwa alleged that the Special African Union Envoy for Cote d-Ivoire Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga was ill advised claiming he was a puppet. It was typical case of sour grapes.

While Zimbabwe’s state-controlled media reported ‘Gbagbo captured’(The Herald, 11/04/11) and ‘Gbagbo arrested’ (Zbc, 11/04/11) it is not difficult to see the regime’s disappointment. It is important to recall that in January, Gbabo sent a special envoy to Harare to enlist the support of Mugabe, who like him is accused of stealing an election and is under US and EU targeted sanctions.

Did Zimbabwe supply Gbagbo with weapons?

In March, the United Nations was reportedly investigating evidence that Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe secretly sent weapons to Ivory Coast in what was suspected as a move to ‘frustrate Mugabe’s perceived enemies’ like the US and the UK, since Zimbabwe has no strategic interest in Ivory Coast (Guardian.co.uk, 04/03/11). Until the UN’s findings are published, many people will still be asking: Did Zimbabwe supply Gbagbo with weapons?

Although the Zanu-pf Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa said there was nothing to fear from the United Nations investigation, if the allegations are sustained, Zimbabwe would be at risk of UN sanctions for breaching an arms embargo imposed on the Ivory Coast in 2004.

What about South Africa?

South Africa reportedly denied supplying military support to either Gbagbo or Quattara following criticism by the Chairman of ECOWAS, West Africa’s regional bloc James Victor Gbeho amid Ivory Coast’s then deepening crisis.

A spokesman of South African defence department, Siphiwe Dlamini said the warship was in international waters for routine training and was there in case it was needed ‘as a negotiating venue’ (Associated Press).

After ECOWAS threatened military invasion to oust Gbagbo if negotiations failed, Christopher Mutsvangwa and Jonathan Moyo quickly warned that military intervention would lead to a long drawn out conflict in Cote d’Ivoire. Little did they know that scaremongering was not going to stop principled world leaders from executing a UN mandate expeditiously albeit debatable for academic purposes.

Rubber bullets

SADC’s hands may get full very soon if the Zimbabwe crisis is left to simmer. Swazi police fired rubber bullets Tuesday to break up planned protests to demand reform in Africa’s last absolute monarchy. Earlier, they reportedly stormed the teachers union offices firing teargas and using batons to beat 1000 teachers and students who wanted to march against King Mswati III (Timesonline.co.za, 12/04/11). Last month trade unions in Swaziland held the biggest protest seen in years.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, violence is simmering according to the BBC on Monday 11th April 2011. Part of the ‘secret’ to Quattara’s success in removing Gbagbo from office was his own realisation that without the help of the international community in particular the United Nations and France, he was going to remain a shadow president for an indefinite period. Hopefully Zimbabwe’s opposition has learnt a lesson from Ivory Coast about then need to see beyond SADC. However, it is such a great joy to pose the question: Does Jonathan Moyo know that Gbagbo was finally captured?

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London, zimanalysis2009@gmail