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. Tina

    Do people EVER read the articles before commenting?

    I have to wonder

    June 24, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  2. John in Ohio

    I'll never figure out how winning more delegates and more of the legitimate popular vote and more states and more superdelegates = Obama cheated and was handed the election by the DNC.

    June 24, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  3. Sharon Minnesota

    Our next war will be fought in Africa if Obama is president, and probably very soon. We don't need another war to fight, we need to finish the one's we have in Iraq and Afganistan and the war on terrorism.

    Vote John McCain if you want peace and prosperity.

    June 24, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  4. Mike

    Of Course! Would a workers union endorse McBush so he can send the rest of our jobs to China?

    June 24, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  5. NO Bama!

    I love how he said lack's "lacks any credibility" thanks Mr. "I Haven't Even Finished a Full Senate Term" Obama hows that for credibility?

    June 24, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  6. Ganesh

    What happened to Obama!!! I thought he was all for diplomacy but he is also getting caught up already in teh Washington of starving the kids rather than talking with their leaders. If Mugabe cared for the people, he wouldn't have done all the mean things to opposition supporters and his own country men. Though I am glad that he spoke with the opposition leader and hopefully he would try to come up with a better plan to make lives better for people in Zimbabwe by getting rid of Mugabe.

    June 24, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  7. Cliff

    American credibility trickling back to the forefront.

    June 24, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  8. mayahh

    Father figure for our future generation, way to GO , Senator OBAMA,

    June 24, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  9. violet

    Had Obama heard of Zimbabwe before now? Or is he just using this heartbreaking situation to make himself look empathetic? I'm quite sure Zimbabweans have other issue on their minds than what this naive pretender to the presidency thinks.

    June 24, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  10. Porter

    A government we don't like? UN interference and sanctions! Obama '08 – "Change" you can believe in!

    June 24, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  11. bridgette

    Why should we sanction them. Let them handle their own election and let us handle ours.

    June 24, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  12. Jason

    It is still prior to the Democratic Convention, so technically no one has won the nomination [superdelagates can and have gone back and forth on the candidates].

    Doesn't that make Barak Hussein Obama the illegitimate leader at this point?

    June 24, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  13. Edwin K C

    Zimbabwe, Sudan(Darfur) and Somalia are good examples of see nothing, hear nothing and do nothing mentality of African Leaders.

    How we pray that a President Obama will straighten them up and allow progressive leaders be able to solve their own problems.

    It is time the AU charter be expanded and be given more teeth to among other things nullify fraudulent elections just as what may likely to happen in Zimbabwe.

    Demo...cracy is likely to be thrown out through the window once again

    For our long will Africa be a disgrace to her People?????.

    June 24, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  14. saga for Obama

    he understands how important Africa is to the world

    June 24, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  15. Paul

    Instead old sanctions, Zimbawe is a country which needs help from us to get rid of the tyrannical president.

    Obama has no foriegn policy experience and has again made a blunder by calling on sanctions.

    He is just another Pied Piper of Hamelin

    June 24, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  16. Fitz

    Will you people talking about Hillary and the old Primary please shut up. It's done already. Senator Obama won fairly ok, 1/2 the problems he is dealing with now as far as smears were intruduced by Hillary supporters and he still beat her, shows how much she was unbeatable.

    Go away and take those idiotic PUMA individuals with you. You all can go vote for McCain while millions of us actually think and vote for Obama. We'll write you later and tell you about it.

    June 24, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  17. Tim

    If CNN comments are moderated then why do they let this Muslim nonsense through?

    This is a difference between Obama and McCain, Obama denounces corrupt regimes while McCain uses their former lobbyist to run his campaign.

    June 24, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  18. JP, Winnipeg MB

    Hey, that's the guy America was waiting for all along. All those losers who think that America should stay out of other people's business should also tell America to stop declaring themselves as the world 'leaders'. You're willing to take all th praise but none of the responsibility. Shame on you, shame on you. Go Obama go!!!! Canada loves Obama because unlike many losers in the US, he understands that there's a world beyond the oceans.

    June 24, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  19. dodo

    Some of the fools who post on these blogs are so mentally limited it is pointless to try to imagine to respond to their nonsense. It is just a lack of knowledge that is making these people enjoy being stupid for ever and ever.

    June 24, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  20. Justine

    Very presidential.

    Obama my next president.

    June 24, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  21. pakuna

    OH wow the great and mighty obama can express his deep concern for the way the opposition and his supporters are being targeted by the regime, and to express his admiration for his efforts to ensure that the will of the Zimbabwean people is finally respected," why does that not surprise me. The great obama sure showed his concern for America and the will of the people, when he raped his opposition when he ran for the Senate and as he is doing now. Oh thats right he did not do anything he had his regime do it. He needs to give up his citizenship to Kenya!!!! Is he Kenya or American?

    June 24, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  22. N, Texas

    TJ Johnson. Zimbabwe is not a Muslim nation FYI. Before you try to make someone look bad, try not to sound so ignorant.

    It is good that Obama has mentioned something about Zimbabwe. McCain is on slow pace to mention anything that really affects ordinary people's lives. Obama is not saying the US should do something alone. He is calling on the international community as a while which is a sign of maturity and diplomacy.

    The worst thing would be to have a leader who knows nothing about foreign affairs and does nothing to learn more. He talked to Morgan Tsvangirai. That is a good thing. Where is McCain in this mix – oh, I forgot... Africa means nothing to the Republicans.

    June 24, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  23. Independent in Miami

    After spending so much time and money on her ego trip, the Senator from New York can finally do her job again. She only took on New York to run for President someday. It's the same reason why she accepted Bill Clinton's behavior. She's a desperate woman, willing to do or say anything to erase the shame Bill laid on her. I actually feel sorry for her.

    However, to ask for her debt to be paid off?!?! I don't feel that sorry for her. Why should anyone but Billary be responsible for her decisions? Ask your supporters Hillary, not people like us who are ready for something other than the names Clinton or Bush for the last 20 years. Look at this country after you people!

    For now, please let's move on.


    PS Running a joint ticket after you behavior is like saying the following:

    Clinton/Lewinsky 2016

    June 24, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  24. richard

    the whole of africa needs radical change... the real question though is why did we stay silent when he ruled for over twenty years... look at cameroon one of the most beautiful countries being ruled by an idiot paul biya for over 25years sowing death and misery and no one ever hears about it. if there is a place on earth where regime change is needed very badly its the whole of africa. take egypt mubarak is alone on the ballot for over 20 years.. please america help africa get rid of all dictators here.

    June 24, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  25. Saad from NJ

    Go Obama. Please for the sake of humanity we need to do this. Mugabe is not any less an evil dictator as Saddam was. Please, letting Mugabe do what he is doing to innocent people is more unhuman than anything else I can think of.

    June 24, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7