June 24th, 2008
02:30 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama calls for tighter sanctions on Zimbabwe

Obama is reacting to the latest developments in Zimbabwe.
Obama is reacting to the latest developments in Zimbabwe.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Tuesday that the Robert Mugabe government of Zimbabwe is "illegitimate and lacks any credibility," and said the United States should tighten sanctions against it.

Obama said he had spoken with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who has said he will not participate in a run-off election against Mugabe, scheduled for June 27, because of violence against him and his supporters.

"I have spoken with MDC Leader Morgan Tsvangirai to share my deep concern for the way his supporters are being targeted by the regime, and to express my admiration for his efforts to ensure that the will of the Zimbabwean people is finally respected," Obama said in a written statement.

"The Zimbabwean government's campaign of repression and brutality has made it impossible for the June 27 elections to be free and fair," Obama said, echoing a position taken by the United Nations on Monday.

He called for internationally monitored elections, and said if it proved impossible to bring them about, African and world powers should press for Mugabe to leave office.

"If fresh elections prove impossible, regional leaders backed by the international community should pursue an enforceable, negotiated political transition in Zimbabwe that would end repressive rule and enable genuine democracy to take root," he said.

Tsvangirai got more votes than Mugabe in a March 29 election, but failed to gather enough to avoid a runoff.

His decision to abandon his presidential campaign gives an apparent victory to Mugabe, who has been Zimbabwe's only leader since it gained independence from Britain in 1980. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the head of the South African Development Community have called for Friday's vote to be postponed.

On Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously condemned the Zimbabwean government because of the violence that has continued in advance of the election runoff.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (160 Responses)
  1. Africa

    wow...lookie here. Someone actually cares what happens to Africans. :) Humans unite!

    June 24, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  2. Franky

    I'm telling you guys, I told my government to send me but nooooooo, I need "training." Hey, I got all the training I need here, I thanked the President! I'll go anywhere, just let me take care of it because I'm more comfortable than you guys(Government) taking care of it....

    June 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  3. Tully

    why is this qualified to be president again? OHHH thats right because the media said so.

    June 24, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  4. Donna

    TJ..what is Muslim talk? The ignorance of some never ceases to amaze!!!!

    First Obama doesn't have "enough" foreign affairs experience, then when he says something regarding S.Africa, he gets chastised for it...CAN'T SATISFY EVERYONE..go on and do your thing Obama...continue to use THESE HATERS AS YOUR MOTIVATORS...half of them are not registered to vote anyway!!!

    June 24, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  5. Peter E

    So if republicans meddle in a country's civil war then they're being imperialistic and arogant, but when Obama wants to impose 'democracy' on another country he's showing 'leadership?'

    June 24, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  6. Peter E

    This from the guy who can't stop criticizing republicans for interfering in other countries' self-determination...

    June 24, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  7. KP

    This is a country we can help because the opposition understands the will of the people and the importance of the vote. Mugabe has to go, or be part of a fair runoff. Blooding the opposition so they don't campaign or show up to be heard is a strike to the heart of democracy. The US can help this resolve this mess as long as the people are not further hurt in the process.

    June 24, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  8. Joe Six

    Why isn't Obama meeting with Mugabe? Where is diplomacy?
    How will Obama enforce his sanctions? Through the UN? Any US troops?

    June 24, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  9. Mike

    Were is the U.N. when you need them.

    June 24, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  10. oil rules

    While it is easy to agree with Obama on this topic, he shoud know a lot about lacking credibility. Maybe he could get Mugabe to run with him??

    June 24, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  11. Jimmy J.

    Wow. Stunner. Obama comes out against "repression and brutality." Took him a day to follow the lead of the United Nations. Guess he didn't want to go too far out on a limb, and needed to test the waters first.

    June 24, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  12. Rob indetroit

    Barack Obama is being honest and fair which is refreshing we haven't had an honest president in eight years.

    June 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  13. Anita from Arizona

    Good call, Obama. A lesson needs to learned in Zimbabwe.

    June 24, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  14. Jan From Boca Raton, Fl.

    I could stand up and say exactly what Obama is saying (of course
    written by his speech writers) Does that qualify me to be the President
    of the United States???

    Obama keeps saying what McCain and Bush are not doing or have not done, but he has given no solutions. He keeps taking and talking
    and walking in circles.

    Everyone keeps saying he is running a great campaign, raising
    millions. MY FRIENDS LISTEN, Obama isn't doing diddley, he has hired and paying for the best campaign managers and spokeman's.
    The people he has hired are being paid $millions, they are not doing this for free. This MY FRIENDS is where alot of the money donated to
    Obama is going.

    June 24, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  15. R.I.F.

    I think some of the Obama haters have their keyboards on auto-pilot because they keep saying the same thing on ever blog no matter the subject. Obama's been a US Senator for 4 years and sits on foriegn policy commites. Bill Clinton was the governor of Arkansas. Being govenor doens't really expose you to any foreign policy issues so in that regards Obama has far more experince that Bill.

    All Obama was doing was speaking out aount the chaos and out comes the hate from bloggers. Obama coul say that he's giving one of his kidneys to a sick kid and the usual suspects on this blog would find something to attck him on.

    June 24, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  16. Bill

    Obama has the good sound judgment on foreign affairs than the beer vetoing old man does not. Obama doesn't have a band aid on his head from bumping into the roof/door. McBush needs to sit down and rest from his senior moments while Obama steers this country in a better direction. What country needs a leader who's adviser publicly says a terrorist attack would help out their campaign?

    June 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  17. HEINRICH

    Yes we can! We must not concentrate OUR DIPLOMACY AND FOREIGN POLICIES only on countries that have oil.Democracy should prevail around the world. That the kind of PRESIDENT WE NEED.

    OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT 08

    June 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  18. Larry

    Mugabe and his Generals deserve the firing squad

    As do George W Bush, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, just to name a few

    June 24, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  19. Chut Pata

    Wrong here Obama. The US and British governments were helping the racist regime when Mugabe was leading the freedom fight. Now that Zimbabwe is free, the US and British are demonizing this freedom fighter.

    Just because you are black does not mean you should be scared into siding with the racists.

    First time disappointment in you.

    June 24, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  20. Ilona Proud Canadian

    Pete,

    Good for you!

    I have been trying to get people to google PUMA for the longest while.
    This organization is not only LAUGHABLE, it is also DISGUSTING just like their NAME SUGGESTS.

    You folks should really do as Pete suggests, and see for yourselves just what kind of an organization Hillary's Big Wig supporters have started!

    HILLARY SUPPORTERS, PLEASE, DON'T EVEN TRY TO TELL ME THAT BOTH HILLARY AND BILL ARE NOT ENCOURAGING THIS ORGANIZATION. This is the reason that Hillary only SUSPENDED her campaign, as opposed to ENDING it. They are hoping big time that they can stir up more MUD to SLING at Barack! THEIR BIG WIG MANAGER IS EVEN GOING ON THE AIR ON MANY NETWORKS PROMOTING PUMA!

    June 24, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  21. Washington

    Last time i checked, no one has the monoploy of foriegn policy. Senator Obama made an excellent move.

    Out of nearly 1000 students, Senator McCain was better than only four. Never time will i ever trust his thinking.

    June 24, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  22. Mimi De La Cruz for OBAMA

    DO WE HAVE A FEW MORE BOMBS, JUST ONE OR TWO?

    OR DID WE USE THEM ALL IN IRAQ?

    THAT MUGABE & HIS HITLERIEN MUSTACHE DESERVES

    A COUPLE ON HIS HEAD.NOTICE MCBUSH HAS NOTHING

    TO SAY ON THE SUBJECT.

    June 24, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  23. Thomas

    "Now here's a country that can REALLY use some help…That'll boy Pres. Barry." – HOW ABOUT WE HELP AMERICA FIRST.... BO save the money on the US... oh why am I worried its just political talk he wont do anything about it anyway

    June 24, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  24. Republican for Obama

    So much hate and uninformed comments here. Obama didn't say we should not interfere with Iraq and Iran, he said we should stand with the United Nations not take over the country ourselves. If we had followed that line of thought we would not be here spending billion per month with thousands dead and nearly no other country helping us out.

    Obama making a statement condemning this dictator is almost as much as Bush has done in 8 years. I am ashamed of the United States for claiming we needed to invade Iraq to "save" the people (once they couldn't find any WMD), yet we completely ignore the whole sale slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in Africa. I bet those people wish they had oil under the ground so someone would care about their plight.

    There's no point addressing the Muslim, blah blah, America hating, blah blah, comments because ignorant narrow minded people cannot be reasoned with. Lastly if you count the caucus states along with MI and FL, he won the popular vote, how does that hold up to stealing the election? Or are you basically saying, "things didn't go my way so it wasn't fair" waah waah waah, even my 7 year old daughter has enough maturity to admit when she lost. Grow Up.

    June 24, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  25. David Goldman for OBAMA

    IT'S RELAY MESSED UP THAT WE DECLARE WAR

    ON IRAQ BUT CANT TAKE CARE OF SCUM BAGS

    LIKE MUGABE. I KNOW WE CAN'T AFFORD IT,

    BUT IT WOULD BE SWEET.

    June 24, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
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