Obama Ventures into International Politics, Condemns Mugabe

Obama in Africa

If this is any indication how Obama can use his “dual citizenship” to influence world affairs then I can see the groundwork being laid for him yielding his power as a global candidate, not only America’s president

via Times Online

Barack Obama added his voice to the international condemnation of Robert Mugabe, declaring that the regime in Zimbabwe was illegitimate and lacked any credibility.

The Democratic presidential nominee said that Mr Mugabe’s campaign of repression and brutality made it impossible for the elections to be free and fair.

“Indeed, it is the result of the abrogated March 2008 elections that represents the genuine will of the Zimbabwean people,” he said.

“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.” Mr Obama’s intervention represented his first remarks on the developing crisis in Zimbabwe since June 13.

John McCain, his Republican rival, has emphasised repeatedly what he claims are his superior foreign policy credentials. However, he last commented on Zimbabwe on April 7, describing Mr Mugabe as an autocrat and his government a pariah. Britain’s colonial past in Zimbabwe, as well as the family ties of many UK citizens, probably ensures the issue receives more attention there than elsewhere in the West.

Darfur is one of the few African crises that has risen high on an often insular US political agenda, mainly because of a campaign run by the Evangelical leaders who are heavily courted by Republicans and – increasingly – Democrats. Mr Obama, by contrast, has made much of his African heritage as the son of a Kenyan goat herder and his capacity to reach out to the rest of the world.

Last year he sponsored a Bill in the Senate calling on the international community to apply “appropriate pressures” against Mr Mugabe. Yesterday, he suggested the solution to a crisis which is affecting the entire region lay in Africa’s own hands. “I am heartened by the growing chorus of African leaders supporting the civil and political rights of the Zimbabwean people,” he said. “But they must do much more to help prevent the crisis in Zimbabwe from spiraling out of control. In particular, the South African Government and the ANC must recognize the need – and must call for – the kind of diplomatic action that is necessary to pressure the Zimbabwean government to stop its repressive behavior.” If fresh elections prove impossible, added Mr Obama, the US and other countries should tighten “targeted sanctions” and “pursue an enforceable, negotiated political transition in Zimbabwe that would end repressive rule”.

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