06.25.08

Schiff Introduces Resolution Calling on Congress to Condemn and Isolate the Government of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe

Official Seal of the US House of Representatives

Wednesday, June 25, 2008 Contact: Sean Oblack (202) 225-4176

Schiff Introduces Resolution Calling on Congress to Condemn and Isolate the Government of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe


 

Washington, DC – Late Yesterday, Representative Adam Schiff introduced a resolution (H. Res. 1301) calling for international action to isolate the government of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. This resolution comes in response to the worsening situation in Zimbabwe where opposition presidential candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai has been forced to drop out of Friday's planned runoff because of a campaign of violence, terror and intimidation by the government of Robert Mugabe.

“The tragedy in Zimbabwe threatens the lives of millions.  We cannot stand idly by while a dictator completes the destruction of a country that was once the ‘breadbasket of Africa,’” Schiff said. 

H. Res. 1301 calls upon the Government of Zimbabwe to reschedule the electoral runoff and to allow full and unfettered access to international electoral monitors before, during and after the balloting.  It also calls upon the African Union and Southern African Development Community, consistent with their charters, to take immediate steps to sanction politically, diplomatically and economically the government of Robert Mugabe.  Lastly, H. Res. 1301 calls upon the United Nations Security Council to take immediate steps to end the violence in Zimbabwe, press the government of Robert Mugabe to ensure that a new electoral runoff is conducted freely and fairly, and that in the absence of a free and fair election, urge President Mugabe to step down.

President Mugabe and his party the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) have been in power for the past 28 years.  During his tenure the economic output of Zimbabwe has decreased 40% and its unemployment is estimated at more than 80%.  On March 29, 2008, Zimbabweans voiced their dissatisfaction with Mugabe's government during the country's presidential election.

According to the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC), Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) won 47.8 percent of the vote during the March 29, 2008 election and President Mugabe won only 43.2 percent. However, since neither candidate won over 50%, a runoff was declared. 

Since the announcement of the runoff, the violence in Zimbabwe has continued to escalate. Over 900 people have been tortured and 87 have been killed by government security forces.  Earlier this week, Tsvangirai, who has been repeatedly assaulted by government agents over the past few years, was forced to leave the presidential race and seek refuge in the Dutch Embassy.

Congressman Schiff is the co-founder of the Democratic Study Group on National Security and a member of the House Appropriations Committee, the House Judiciary Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He represents California’s 29th Congressional District, which includes the communities of Alhambra, Altadena, Burbank, East Pasadena, East San Gabriel, Glendale, Monterey Park, Pasadena, San Gabriel, South Pasadena and Temple City.