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. Look Out, Loretta!!

    We have a diplomat on our hands!!

    I wonder what McCain would do? Oh yeah:

    bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Zimbabwe!

    June 24, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  2. miyaki

    I though he was prepared to meet with dictators, has he changed his mind again?

    June 24, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  3. charles

    JOHNSON for your own information he doesnt need to straighten an muslim talk. that evil dictator is a devote catholic if you didnt know.

    June 24, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  4. Tega

    This is not an Obama's issue alone. President Bush should do something about what is going on in that part of the world. I welcome the comments of Obama. Obama '08.

    June 24, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  5. tiffany jackson

    Um, does George Bush only cares about black things. Oil that is not people.

    June 24, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  6. Heather

    At least someone cares.

    June 24, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  7. john

    You repugnants are are travesty and for those of you impersonating hillary supporters, GET A LIFE. Obama has got more on the ball than any of your idelogues so GET USED TO IT ;be on the sideline whining.

    June 24, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  8. Nate

    AJ, leave the foreign policy to who? Bush, Cheney, McCain? What have they proven they know about foriegn policy. What have they shown they know about domestic policy. You've got your guns pointed in the wrong direction.

    June 24, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  9. wycliffe, NJ

    obama is the leader we need where is mccain.....iraq is not involved

    June 24, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  10. AJ

    I really don’t care what happens in Zimbabwe. This nation stood still while Mugabe and his thugs threw out all of the white farmers that made Zimbabwe the bread basket of Africa. Now they are starving. Let the people of Zimbabwe decide what they are going to do, it is not our problem. We still have people homeless after Katrina; children in the United States are still going hungry; people in the United States are still living without homes. Our elderly cannot pay for medical care and many are forced to work well past retirement age because their pension plans have gone bankrupt and Social Security is not enough to live on. Let’s see the boy wonder do something about the problems in the United States before we get involved in the problems of Africa. The people of Zimbabwe made their own bed, now they can lie in it.

    June 24, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  11. gotcha

    Anita from Arizona, did he say he wasnt voting for Obama????????????????I think he ithinks Muslim, and I am not voting for him. I just dont like him.

    June 24, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  12. Luciann

    WTG~!! Obama! This is an area of the world that has often and seriously been ignored by the United States~ie. Rowanda, Darfur in the Sudan and others. McCain probably couldn't find Zimbabwe on the map, never mind showing what an expert he is in foreign policy, trying to diminsh Barack Obama. Obama has shown more leadership than McCain could ever hope to, so all you McCain cheerleaders better wake up, get on the field, the game has already started!

    June 24, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  13. Rave

    Mr. Obama, you are the man..... Stand up for real problems and stop the unnecessary wars....
    Also, could you convince McCain to join in a phsyciatric facility near his home... he is now wishing our country to be attacked by some terrorists.... either his brain is dead (or) he doesn't have a thing called brain.
    By the way, dont let those Hillary's puppets come near you... you don't need people who have no control over spending and completely un-organized. She wants someone to pay her debts.. Yeah, Yeah... I want someone to pay my mortgage and car payments.. She brought it upto herself with her ego and lying. Let her pay for it
    OBAMA (2008 – 16)

    June 24, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  14. Fella from Chicago

    Funny, Mugabe feels the same toward your illegitimacy; politics that is.

    June 24, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  15. Gary in VA

    Diplomacy everyone thinks everyone needs so much experience and so much stuff. Do you think every CEO knows everything. That is what advisors are for. I would not expect him to know everything. He has the basics down pack. High educated, amicable and leadership quailities. You should be able to tell by the innovation and organization of his campaign that the man can lead. What do expect him to do if elected give america. People kill me with this idea of his readiness to lead. He is a scholar for god sakes. More than we can say for many other presidents who have come before him. Remember people the american presidency is no more than a figure head. Once he is elected what you need to worry about the Senate and House race to ensure you have people in there that can get things done and work together. Wake up american and let the ignorance stop.

    June 24, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  16. Danny, Democrat from AZ

    Some of you people are pathetic. I cannot believe the attempts here to make Obama look like a flip-flopper or weak politician for what he is doing with Zimbabwe. There is no word from our current administration, and no mentions in McCain's speeches about the incredible problems the people of that nation face. But when Obama does it, half the people jump on it like its a bad thing. Some of you people disgust me. I cannot wait Obama to be elected to shut you all out.

    June 24, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  17. One Vote




    June 24, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  18. paulie_nj

    Seems our African-American nominee is more concerned about the African than the American, which is about all that can be expected I guess.

    June 24, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  19. Rob Kole

    Increase sanctions on one of the poorest countries in the world? What is that going to do?

    Oh wait he is just repeating what the UN had said...No change from the normal Politics of the past on this issue.

    June 24, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  20. Eli

    Clearly some people are can't focus on the issue at hand, there are people being killed and mutilated for no real reason and the most someone can think of is Michigan votes, that can be done nothing about at this point, seriously now!!!. I commend Obama for adding to the voices of those who care about whats going on in Zimbabwe,

    June 24, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  21. ny

    I can't believe Obama is addressing world issues. Does he even know where the country is located?

    He is so ignorant that he argued that there is no Al Qaeda in Iraq. Does he listen to NEWS?

    June 24, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  22. Swampy

    AJ, TJ Johnson, JK Ashburn, VA, WendyOne: you must have missed your nap today. Just wait 'til your father gets home and sees what puerile nonsense you've been typing on his computer.

    Alex in TX, Typical White Person, NObama: I think you're misinformed, but thanks for fighting fair.

    Barack Hussein Obama/Wesley Kanne Clark '08

    June 24, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  23. Earl

    Great start on showing the world where we stand Obama.

    Those people are safe from McSame invading, the country doesn't have any oil or anything of value.

    June 24, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  24. tigerakabj

    Well if the president won't do it, then I guess Obama will, since he's the only one acting like he gives a darn about abused and mistreated people. As we all know, there isn't any oil over there so there won't be an Iraq.

    June 24, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  25. Justmyopinion2008

    There is no reason why the entire world should not unite behind ordinary Zimbaweans and get raid of Mugabe. If USA was able to arrest Norgega of Panama, and UN arrested Charles Taylor, Mugabe should be arrested too because he is a war Criminal! He helped to instigate and participated in the war criminal activities in Congo Democratic Republic becuse of his interest in the precious metal mines. Moreover, many of his people , like farmers and those in opposition have been brutalized due to his power intoxtication! It is high time those old generations of African leaders who feel some sense of entitlement and have done nothing good for Africa(ns) than steal from the systems that they are supposed to serve, should either voluntarily leave or forced out! World leaders should unite and stop this nonsense! Many developed countries have benefitted from all those criminal's activities, so they have moral obligations to support struggling Africans to address those situations. Imagine how much money the Western world would have saved if all the African countries were stable and able to manage their own destiny. What a market! What a more peaceful, richer world we will have, with people, cultures, food, more turist destinations, less refugees, etc.!

    June 24, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
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