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. tired of the BS

    TJ Johnson – do you even know where Zimbabwe is? Try not to be an ignorant, racist fool next post. It does your "side" no good.

    June 24, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  2. Michael

    Gee, why? Mugabe is a lovely man. I'm sure Obama would sit across the table with him any old time. There is evil in the world, Senator, just as there was an "evil empire"( although I'm sure all your Harvard friends were tickled by such an unsophisticated approach to world affairs. Do all the talking you want to ever y rogue in the world, but you do not sit down for me or for millions who think you are naive and possibly obtuse.

    June 24, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  3. William, from Cali!

    The World is increasingly becoming, a more "dangerous place, to live; to be sure"............this sounds like another Iraq, in the making; but on a smaller scale; a "free"and "fair" election, for the people...........More "battles" to fight;but at what cost? Can we get the backing, to get it done? Are we up to it? Who really cares? We will be "Tested", time after time, but we must stand ,unified as a Nation.................Right now; we have a"lame duck" President, and two wantabes; and we need help; we are divided....... as a Country.................Who's calling the shots? it's not even 1/20/2009 yet! Who won the election in Nov/2008? I think we are getting ahead of ourselves here! UN, what good are you? "Stop, the world; I want to get off!"........................God help us all!

    June 24, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  4. Mary

    Very Good, Go Senator Obama

    June 24, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  5. independent

    i wish he was president,already.mcbush doesn't care about africans.

    June 24, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  6. Nando, Florida

    A leader not a follower like JOHN MCSAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 24, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  7. ANGIE

    at least someone cares and is doing something

    June 24, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  8. Molly

    WHO are you obama to call their election system illegitimate??
    Seems like your DNC party is also illegitimate – maybe even corrupt since they moved to Chicago. Exactly HOW did you win/steal the nomination – did you EARN all your votes – just "expressing my concern" – seems to lack credibility.

    June 24, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  9. Jayson

    Continued talk and sanctions will only lead to the deaths of more innocents due to starvation. The only language Mugabe understands is the language of force. It is time for the UN to stop dragging it's feet and actually back it's words with something besides hot air.

    June 24, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  10. Just wondering . .

    I am very entertained by how the Obama haters have nothing contructive to add to the blog just the usual rhetoric ergo TJ Johnson and "typical white person's" comments. Anyway I am glad Obama is bringing this issue up becasue since there is no oil in Zimbabwe we can't count on the GOP to care. I love how ths situation was so horrible in Iraq that we must go in and topple a soverign nation but wont even acknowledge the violence going on in Africa right now. Are we really the moral police or opportunistic thugs . . . . . its a thin line.

    On a lighter note Pete i defintely googled PUMA last week myself and had a good laugh. I hate to make fun of someone elses poticical opinions, but some of the stuff on there was too much. For the record i googled it so i could get a fair representation of where the PUMA/PAC ppl were coming from. Needless to say, i don't agree.

    June 24, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  11. Brandon Hillary Democrat for Mc Cain

    I think Obama should take permanent residency in that country one he loses in November.

    June 24, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  12. Raghu

    THe worst ticket possible

    June 24, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  13. fighting the smears

    wow, look at all the haters who come out when Obama speaks out against Mugabe. I feel bad for you guys, he didn't say anything wrong but apparently he can do no right in your eyes. What does it say about your own character that you cannot also agree with his condemnation of the travesty that goes on there even though he is right to do so and instead throw stones at the Obama because of your personal dislike of the speaker?
    While I applaud Obama for standing up for those who have no voice, sanctions against this country will not be the answer. Sanctions never affect the people in power and only cause the common man, the ones who are already suffering from poor government, to become even more wretched. UN intervention is needed and has been needed for some time but South Africa refuses to allow this intervention because Zimbabwe is their biggest trading partner and don't want any disruptions to the SA economy. International Pressure needs to be placed on South Africa to allow at least the African Union to step in and get rid of Mugabe.

    June 24, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  14. Brandon Hillary Democrat for Mc Cain


    Yes we are outraged !!!
    You will wish you had our support in November and we will be the ones telling you obama fanatics to


    Yes we will.....defeat obama in november and it will only take a small number of us.

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

    It's funny how some people think that it is some how not the right thing to do, by any leader of any of the super powerful nations in the world, is disturbing. Obama's approach is correct because of the fact that the big bad bully who keeps using our money to carry out his will is getting old. Tighten up the grip on him and the same people that are helping him be the big bad bully will start thinking about other ways for their people to prosper when that blood money stops flowing.

    June 24, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  16. If not Hillary....then McCain

    Obama wouldn't recognize a fair election!

    Evidently, according the Obama, there is only one type of election, one that has only his name on the ballot.

    June 24, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  17. Rodney

    Thank You Sen. Obama, the US Government does not recognize the problems that are occuring in the African countries. We are so consumed with the middle east that many countries are overthrown wiith anarchy.

    June 24, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  18. political teen

    this shows obamas foriegn policies are not restricted to the middle east!! he cares about the entire world which is why the entire world stands behind him in saying "yes we can"

    June 24, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  19. shawn in CANADA

    i applaud Sir barack obama and the people who are with him on this issue
    .Zimbabwe have been ruled bythis tyrant for too long.those people have one thing in common with the people in the US.they are starving for change!its a shame that people who are supposed to educated can be so ignorant as to equate the obama campaign with a man the likes of mogabe. Just goes to show that when people don't like you they never will

    June 24, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  20. political teen

    all of you guys who are questioning his not going to have "tea with mugabe" – obama can do so much more when he is the president. and till that day comes , the whole world will suffer

    June 24, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  21. Sam

    Can't wait for real leadership. Go Obama!

    June 24, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  22. Quinn

    Who is Obama to talk directly with this MDC leader? Obama is not Condi Rice or any other person in the white house cabinet connected with foreign affairs.

    More than a little presumptious here, isn't he? Or, just another political panderer?

    June 24, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  23. 2012

    Vote Nader June 24th, 2008 3:04 pm ET

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


    Good point! Maybe he should.......oh.....yeah.....I forgot, the junior senator from Illinois who never bothers to show up for work because he's too busy campaigning doesn't have authority to go meet with anyone, does he? My bad......

    June 24, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  24. f

    what does dobson expect when he puts himself out like that of course he is going to draw fire just because he is behind a pulpit dnt mean he is bullet proof from attacks

    June 24, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  25. Lucas, Nashville TN

    This is SUCH an improvement. Can Bush even SPELL or SAY "Zimbabwe"? Can he find it on a map? Would he know it's flag from a beach towel? He's done NOTHING for diplomacy, and McCain stands to copy and paste, so this is WONDERFUL to see. Good on ya, Barack!

    Aside from that, my only other observation is the terrible spelling of the supposedly-so-much-wiser Hillary supporters here who want to hold on to the lie that something was stolen from them or some conspiracy was had, beyond the stupidity of the people who decided to break the DNC's rules, and those who turned a blind eye to it.

    ... but I digress.

    June 24, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7