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. Gorbashov, Long Beach, Ca.

    Well done!

    No oil there, so I guess that's why we haven't heard from McBush!

    No more Haliburton run Executive branch!

    Obama/Nunn in 2008 and beyond.

    June 24, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  2. David from Ohio

    The presidential "election" in Zimbabwe was a travesty. Tsvangirai won the election outright and Mugabe's supporters want the runoff for no other reason than to "legitimize" his continued stranglehold on power. Sanctions should be tightened further to choke the life out of what's left of Zimbabwe's economy.

    June 24, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  3. NObama

    The nomination of Barack Obama as the democratic nominee, given the voting results, is illegitimate as well.

    June 24, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  4. Typical White Person

    If anyone can recognize a campaign that is "illegitimate and lacks any credibility" it would be Obamanation...

    He knew he wouldn't win in Michigan, so what did he do? He did what every power-hungray 3rd world politician has done in the past – he boycotted the election so he could say it wasn't "fair"...

    Didn't the Shiites do that recently???

    June 24, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  5. Alex in TX

    Holy cow. Diplomacy??

    He has too little foreign policy experience. He will be a terrible president

    June 24, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  6. TESAP

    Yes. This issue has been put on the back burner for the US. I applaud Obama's efforts.

    June 24, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  7. Pete

    I googled PUMA. Funniest shizzle I've ever read. They are OUTRAGED. OUTRAGED I tell you! Everyone should go have a laugh!

    Hillary was diminished, denigrated, mysoginized, minimized, and marginalized. Nothing is her fault, nothing dammit!

    June 24, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  8. Don

    While u are at it Senator call out the rest of the African rogue regimes that have been in power for too long in mostly west and central Africa to relinquish power. I believe you will fight for this cause. Your statement on Mugabe and his fraudulent regime was very strong.

    June 24, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  9. Obama Supporter

    Well, we all want regional leaders to put the pressure on Zimbabwe, the problem is that South Africa's president won't do it, and he's leading the negotiations.

    At this point, Mugabe is 80-something, and I think the best we can hope for is his death in the near future. Since I don't think that the international community is going to talk Mugabe out of a willingness to abuse, starve, and torture his own people, which he has already shown he is absolutely willing to do.

    June 24, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  10. TJ Johnson

    BO, go on over there and straighten out your brothers. You know the Muslim talk. You are so almighty you can fix anything...

    June 24, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  11. Vote Nader

    Shouldn't he meet with Mugabe? I thought that was how these things were handled.


    ** Nader/Gonzalez 2008 **

    June 24, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  12. JK Ashburn, VA

    Interesting how Obama handles foreign policy crises. "I have expressed my concern" and other restatements of the obvious. YIPPEE!!! All yack and no jack.

    So, sir, what would YOU DO as president? Please give us a sign you have some clue about the reality of the job,

    June 24, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  13. Nancy McKinney



    June 24, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  14. AJ

    What, did Obama decide to put on his big boy pants and try his hand at foreign affairs? Obama knows nothing about foreign affairs and needs to leave this to people who actually know something.

    June 24, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  15. Mike in Newport, Kentucky

    Sanctions have worked well to this point, NOT. Are we ever going to learn? Can you say Darfur?

    June 24, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  16. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Obama is echoing the position the "United Nations" has taken on Zimbabwe, not the United States position as was taken with Iraq. Obama is right on target in the view that Zimbabwe is an international problem, no ours alone.

    June 24, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  17. M.K. Ozman

    This is a very good move on the part of Obama...standing tough against leftist dictators. I am beginning to like him.

    June 24, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  18. sarah

    he keeps yelping that we should not interfere with iran or iraq but he wants to interfere with zimbabwe and a bunch of other countries? whats up with that?

    June 24, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  19. Rob indetroit

    Obama's the only major political figure in the USA that has come out against Mugabe's govement for it's crimes

    June 24, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  20. WendyOne

    WHAT?? You mean he doesn't want to sit down and have tea with them? Is he flip-flopping again?

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


    June 24, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  22. Bishop

    Now here's a country that can REALLY use some help...That'll boy Pres. Barry.

    June 24, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  23. whotoo

    I did not have the chance to response to James Dobson's comment against Obama. I take that initiative now.
    Fruitcaking the Bible is not just Obama's doing alone. James Dobson himslef does the same. James started Focus on the Family without asking for donations from people or his listeners. But I heard him to say a year ago on the same program that God now understands because of tough times therefore he has started asking his listeners or supporters. This is fruitcaking the Bible. God is the Same yesterday, today and forever.

    If the Faith that led him establish the program is now wavering and leading him into asking people for donations it means he is double-minded. If the program has been succeeding without asking for donation, God has not change but your faith is wavering in Him.

    June 24, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  24. WallyWutMD

    Finally. A US Presidnet that cares about Africa. It's time for America to pay her respects to the Mother Land.

    June 24, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  25. Mary

    I think the USA should stay out of other countries bisiness. That is why we get pulled into unnecessary but costly wars. The USA should not be the MOM/DAD of every country and take care of their problems.

    June 24, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7