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

Obama calls for tighter sanctions on Zimbabwe

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/24/art.obama.gi.jpg caption="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. Enlightened Voter

    Brilliant, sound judgment as usual Obama. Mcwar hasn't said anything because he doesn't care, they have no oil. I love your foreign policy mcwar, don't talk to other leaders, bomb them and invade their country and make the world hate us. NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 24, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  2. JK Ashburn, VA

    To Tanya, GA (in response to me):
    What is Bush doing? Well, despite the fears of you lefties, he's not sending the military. He does have Secretary Rice working with the UN and with the president of South Africa and other countries to put pressure on Mugabe. (Where do you think their recent comments on the subject are coming from?)

    My point is not that Obama should, or even can act - you're right, he can't. But, it's just so easy for loudmouth politicians with no obligations and no responsibilities to complain about things without either acting or at least saying what they would do differently. So, if he can't do something, at least he should say what he would do without just being of the crowd of complainers. Members of congress, whether running for President or not, are pretty useless creatures. All talk and grandstanding. No action and no idea how to be constructive.

    June 24, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  3. Doris,Memphis,TN

    Obama our Prince!

    June 24, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  4. Republican for Obama

    May have taken him a day to come out, let's see how long it takes McCain. My guess is 100 years, because our troops won't be available until then.

    June 24, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  5. Mukoma J

    As a Zimbabwean, I appreciate Obama's interest. However, I would not support sanctions because up to this point, they have NOT worked. Rather, they only impoverish the already poor folks in Dotito or Maramba-Pfungwe. If US policy could be more towards forceful diplomacy, then I would say America has learnt something from sanctions against Cuba, Iraq North Korea etc. US should work with the UN organs, the African Union and SADC to send a peacekeeping forces & envoys who will oversee a free and fair election, period. Tony Blair was actually beaten by Mugabe because he kept talking about sanctions which are easily busted.

    June 24, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |

    Please Senator Obama, tell us all about free and fair elections.

    What a hypocrite. He blocks revotes in MI and FL and now he is lecturing Zimbabwe. Puleaseeeeeeeee...

    Or hey, let's talk about your "flip flop" on govt finance...

    Or hey, is Iran a big threat or little threat. Apparently, only a big threat if you are a Jew...

    Obama fanatics need to wake up... You are actually going to support Jimmy Carter, II.

    June 24, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  7. Paul, Chicago

    I like his initiative. I'm glad he's not only focusing on the "usual election topics". Obama's looking at other things going on in the world and shows he cares. That's a leader we should have in a president.

    June 24, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  8. Dj

    Where is the EXPERIENCED foreign policy guy? What does he have do say about this travesty?

    I guess Sen. McCain doesn't give a single thought or have have anything to say about a bunch of "spear chuckers" issues...

    June 24, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  9. Sanction Obama!

    "The Obama candidacy is illegitimate and lacks any credibility..."

    June 24, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  10. taylor

    Robert Mugabe is a man i used to admire because he fought to liberate his country back in the nineteen seventies. A lot of people might not know about the history behind Zimbabwe...but there was a time when black folks did not even get the chance to vote in their own contry, the country which was called Rhodesia, and was under white rule, that use to opress the black people. This is the same country today that is now Zimbabwe...back in those days when liberation came about, people were ecstatic (similar to south africa's abolishment of the apartheid system) that president Mugabe became president...but now i think he has over stayed his rule, and he need's to give up living in the past, stop all this revengeful tactics. the country needs a new president. These are new times. London.On.

    June 24, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
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