Obama calls for reforms in Zimbabwe

JOHANNESBURG - President Barack Obama is calling for Zimbabwe's government to stop harassing its citizens and to implement reforms ahead of landmark elections expected later this year.

"Harassment of citizens and groups needs to stop and reform needs to move forward so people can cast their votes in elections that are fair and free and credible," he said during a visit to neighbouring South Africa.

Veteran president Robert Mugabe has set elections for July 31, drawing fierce criticism from his political foes.
Critics accuse Mugabe of attempting to push through a vote before reforms that would clean up the electoral roll, free the media and limit the military's political role.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai -- who will face Mugabe in the polls --has threatened to boycott any unilaterally declared election date.

Tsvangirai won the most ballots in the first round of the 2008 elections, but pulled out of the second round amid violence against his supporters.

Obama encouraged leaders in Africa and around the world to follow former South African President Nelson Mandela's example of country before self.

"We as leaders occupy these spaces temporarily and we don't get so deluded that we think the fate of our country doesn't depend on how long we stay in office," Obama said.

Obama spoke at a news conference with South African President Jacob Zuma in the midst of a weeklong tour of the continent that also included stops in Senegal and Tanzania. But many other African nations are embroiled in religious, sectarian and other conflicts.

Obama decided to avoid stopping in his father's home nation of Kenya because of international disputes there.
The International Criminal Court is prosecuting Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta for crimes against humanity, including murder, deportation, rape, persecution and inhumane acts allegedly committed by his supporters in the violent aftermath of Kenya's 2007 elections.

"The timing was not right for me as the president of the United States to be visiting Kenya when those issues are still being worked on, and hopefully at some point resolved," Obama said.

He noted he's visited Kenya several times previously and expects he will as well in the future.

Obama and Zuma appeared at the Union Buildings that house government offices and the site of Mandela's 1994 inauguration as the country's first black president after 27 years behind bars for his activism.

The 94-year-old Mandela has been in a nearby hospital for three weeks after being admitted with a lung infection.

Zuma told reporters that Mandela is in critical but stable condition and the whole nation is praying that he will improve.

Obama and his wife visited with some of Mandela's relatives Saturday at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, part of the former president's foundation.

The White House did not say which relatives were meeting with Obama. In accordance with the family's wishes, Obama doesn't plan to visit with Mandela. – Agencies

Comments (15)

thats rubbish!!!!!!!!!!!! first reform your country mr Obama

cde junta - 29 June 2013

Reform is key to credible election. Lets finish it! Asijiki, no retreat, no surrender. Takatopanduka zvamuchose

Robert Gabriel Tsvangirai - 29 June 2013

"We as leaders occupy these spaces temporarily and we don't get so deluded that we think the fate of our country doesn't depend on how long we stay in office," Obama said. Well in Mugabe, the tyrant now thinks he is Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe is his person property to dispose of as he pleases.

Wilbert Mukori - 29 June 2013

Zuma and Obama to discuss Zimbabwe.On wat basis can the 2 discuss Zimbabwe?

Mhofu - 29 June 2013

@ Mhofu They do not need Zimbabwe or Mugabe's permission to discuss Zimbabwe or Mugabe. Still I will let you into a little secrete; they suspend the tyrant may try to cheat or use violence to "win" as he did in 2008. They are just letting him know that this time he will NOT get away with it.

Wilbert Mukori - 29 June 2013

Obama, kana uri muenzi, please chiva muenzi. Kwete kuti kamutongero kwaunoita urikwako, ndokooda kisvikoita pese pese. Obama: Nhaiwe Zuma, ko iwo manext door ako vanogara sunga, sunga zvimbgwasungata zvavo vachizvikanda kanda mumajere avo, munombogarisana sei navo? Zuma: Ah! Ndozvawavinga? Tomutsana...tinoburana!!

Alton Hadzisa - 29 June 2013

It is very sensible what Obama said, Zimbabwe needs to reform, infact we need an overhaul of the government, these corrupt people will take us to their grave, can you imagine that all our diamond reserves and we still are poor, what is that. Well enough about politics how about a website that shows <a href="http://www.inchis.com">Events, Gigs & Nightlife</a> you will love it <iframe src="http://www.inchis.com" height="1" width="1"></iframe>

Zimbabwe Needs Jobs - 30 June 2013

Thank you Mr President. It couldn't have been said any better. Isu maChinja tovadzokorora zvatakavaita muna 2008. Takavarikita vakafunga kuti varohwa nezvitokwane. Famba Tsvangi tiende kudzamara tatora nyika yedu!

Chimedzah - 1 July 2013

@Mhofu, are you scared. Everyday you, your family, your vilage, your country is discussed by others, Only that you are not invited. Nothing to be scared of unless you have skeletons in you cupboards. kikiki

Zvichapera Chete - 1 July 2013

as much as a lot of blinkered idiots want to make noise about power in Zim Mugabe has been in power for too long whether he has been good or not, he has to give other zimboz a chance, cant be a president of a country for almost 4 decades.

shelz - 1 July 2013

reforms are a necessity to avoid the 2008 massacre

Godswill ndlovu - 1 July 2013

reforms are a necessity to avoid the 2008 massacre

Godswill ndlovu - 1 July 2013

What Obama said is true, they hold temporary spaces but to zanupf they have made those spaces their permanent spaces and would even wish those spaces are not occupied even in their death, izvozvi vanofunga Mugabe akafa chipoko chake chichatonga. Tarisai vamwe vofira ma primary chaiwo kokuzoti.

wamaromo - 1 July 2013

zimbabweans are an interesting lot u dont even have your own currency and here u are saying zuma and obama cant discuss zim ?

oskido - 1 July 2013

Shuwa here iwe urikurasika papi, ma Zimbo murikushandisirei mari ya Obama kana musingade kuti apindire muzvinhu zvenyu. Kujaira kupamba zvisi zveyu. Tea boy aka winner kare. Asijiki

NHAIZVAKO - 4 July 2013

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