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. Justin from West Haven, CT

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

    Yeah seriously, the whole thing was a total sham, I mean Obama only got the popular vote, delegates, and won the most states. It's a total travesty. Moron.

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

    Tell them Obama!!!

    June 24, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  3. Larry

    It sickens me to read the attacks on Obama by people that obviously pay little attention to what is actually going on in this world

    What a bunch of narrow minded idiots, go stick your heads back in the sand

    June 24, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  4. gam

    AJ – are you illiterate. Read the article before you comment. Obama is suggesting what any leader would suggest. "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."

    Or we can leave it to Bush and ignore the situation. What happens in Africa at some point will affect the US. Stabillity in African Nations is critical to world stability.

    June 24, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  5. Tanya, GA

    Mike in Newport, what do you propose. No one ever wants to go to war or interfere in African nations to stop atrocities, because they can't plunder the country's natural resources. i.e Darfur, Rwanda.....

    June 24, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  6. Mohamed

    I am confused........!?
    Why not talking with them.
    Sanctions never worked right?
    Obama...you talk more, you make more mistakes

    June 24, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  7. josh

    NO OIL, NO McCain.

    June 24, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  8. Anita from Arizona

    You don't go into another country and bomb it without knowing what your getting into and confirming your intelligence that they are a national threat to security. When the dust cleared in Iraq, they were NOT a threat to our national security. If Bush and his advisors did their homework, they would have known that. Zimbabwe is NOT a threat to our national security so you don't go in guns a blazing. You tighten their sanctions. It's called diplomacy 101. Why do you think we are not respected around the world. HELLO!! Do you research before posting your pyscho comments. Please already.

    June 24, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  9. Rural People Unite

    How elistist to be talking about a foreign place and not focusing in on the center of the world, those disenfranchised poor rural farmers and factory workers and women who voted for Hillary.

    She is forever and forever out leader and saviour. I will send her as much money to pay her debts..such a wonderful women with her personal fight ans struggle to be allowed to run for President before the government said she had to stop so Obama can run..How dare they steal her win, she was supposed to be the nominee starting in 2007, no body else should have run, It was her turn and they took it away from our Hillary, she is a saviour.

    I am a rural voter in Ohio and PA and will shout loud for Hillary again and again..

    June 24, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  10. Tanya, GA

    JK Ashburn, what is Bush doing about this situation, given that he is actually the Commander in Chief? (Not a d#@@ thing) You expect military action from someone who is just the nominee of one party?


    June 24, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  11. harvey, Detroit

    To all those Hillary supporters who say that Obama hasn't got a chance against Mccain in November:


    You forget that you're not just hiring a president, but an administration, which could conceivably have your precious Hillary as Sec. of State or Supreme Court Justice, as well as many other highly qualified DEMOCRATS.

    Something is wrong with you people.

    June 24, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  12. Anita from Arizona

    And TJ JOHNSON comments just revealed his TRUE reason why he or she is not voting for Obama.

    June 24, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  13. Silence Dogood

    And is Zimbabwe going to boycott Obama for stealing the nomination and backdoor politics?

    June 24, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  14. The Bush Twins : George and John

    It's about time someone spoke up !. Of course I can't recall hearing anything from Bush concerning this matter. Well, I guess if Bush doesn't see where he would prosper he'll just let people in other countries suffer and not say a thing.
    Now that Sen. Obama has spoken up, I'm sure Johhny boy will follow suit within a day or two.
    Just a footnote, when I first started reading the article, and read where Sen. Obama said Mugabes government is "illegitimate and lacks any credibilty" I was sure he was talking about the Bush Admin.

    June 24, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  15. Jamaal Kansas

    Mugabe and his regime lost fair and Square in the march vote but they held up the ballots for 3 weeks so he could change the results Senator Obama Should take control of this issue because we know Mcshame doesn't care about Black People Hint he Voted Twice against Martin Luther King day .

    June 24, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  16. Jason, Omaha, NE

    Obama won more states, received more votes, won more pledges delegates, and won more super delegates. He also received just as much bad press with Wright and the bitter comment as Hillary. How was Hillary robbed? I still haven't heard a good explanation besides just screaming, she was robbed. She received 18 million votes, well so did Obama. Do his votes not count? The complaining makes no sense, someone please explain it to me.

    June 24, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  17. Todd

    A good step, Barack. Lead by example.

    If these message boards have taught us anything, it's that there should be an IQ test for voters. Perhaps Mr. Bush can dole out quarters along with his "stimulus" checks so McCain supporters and disgruntled Hillary supporters can go buy a clue.

    Note to Hillary supporters who say they are voting for McCain: If you're going to sell out the rest of us because your candidate didn't win, then you haven't been paying attention to a word she's been saying. Why you would vote for a man whose views are so opposed to Hillary's is mind boggling. Stop acting like children and help this country change course. It isn't all about you. It's about all of us.

    June 24, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  18. Xavier

    TJ JOHNSON Mugabe is a Roman Catholic...not a Muslim!

    June 24, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  19. Milly - Arizona

    Where is McBush on this?? No surprise...!! There is no oil in Zambabwe so why should McBush be concerned about democracy. Bush-McCain foreign policy matters only where there is oil.

    June 24, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  20. charles

    johnson you are an idiot. there is no muslims in zimbabwe to speak of. so if you have no clue about africa stay out of it.

    June 24, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  21. Jamaal Kansas

    Obama wants to see a fair electon so the people of Zimbawe can have a fighting chance this Dictator in Zimbawe has made outside food aid agencies leave the Country because he feels they are helping the opposition but he is starving the Oppositons suppoerters and feeding his

    June 24, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  22. Pat Riot

    Obama there is no "change" about any of your positions. Just like all the other liberals and neo-cons you want to involve yourself in the affairs of other nations. How is this going to improve our image world wide again? It is one thing to verbally support liberty in other countries but another to impose santions and starve its citizens. You disgust me your CFR poster boy for globalists everywhere. You will do anything to turn this country against it's own founding principles.

    June 24, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  23. rs

    i thought we only cared about our friends in the iraqi government? you know, the same iraqi government who's leaders hang out with iran's leaders every other month? yeah, that same iranian leadership that's been giving the america the middle finger for years.

    June 24, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  24. Mike

    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…

    TJ Johnson, Zimbabweans are not Muslim, just like Barack Obama is not Muslim. Stop regurgitating FOX news. Check out the CIA Factbook:

    syncretic (part Christian, part indigenous beliefs) 50%, Christian 25%, indigenous beliefs 24%, Muslim and other 1%

    June 24, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  25. Linda K.

    Obama is a Christian, as are about 40% of the people of Zimbabwe. He's showing true leadership by calling for action (even though Zimbabwe doesn't have oil). That's the kind of judgment we need in the White House.

    June 24, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
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