Zimbabwe has asked for the extradition of Walter Palmer who killed Cecil the lion, and President Obama’s reply to Zimbabwe’s petition to extradite Walter Palmer has to occur within 60 days, according to a White House spokesman. As seen in the above video, the White House spokesperson emphasized that during his recent visit to Africa, Obama discussed with an animal rights activist the necessity of trying to protect wildlife in Africa – but, as he points out, it is an important “policy issue.”
As reported by the Associated Press on July 31, Obama’s reply to Zimbabwe’s petition to extradite the killer of Cecil the lion has to occur after more than 100,000 signatures were gathered on the White House’s website We the People. According to the Guardian, “a White House spokesman said on Thursday that the Obama administration will respond to the petition, which it must to do within 60 days.” The most recent number shows 181,446 signatures asking the U.S. government to extradite Walter Palmer: “We urge the Secretary Of State John Kerry and the Attorney General Loretta Lynch to fully cooperate with the Zimbabwe authorities and to extradite Walter Palmer promptly at the Zimbabwe government’s request.”
In contrast to the 181,446 signatures on the official White House We the People petition addressed to President Obama and his administration, the Care2 petition has gathered 929,630 signatures and is addressed to Robert Gabriel Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe. The difference in signatures between the two petitions is quite striking and is raising the question: Do people have more confidence in getting results from Zimbabwe’s president than Obama?
Zimbabwe’s president is apparently responding to the American signatures, but will President Obama?
As for now, the U.S. Embassy in Zimbabwe is declining to comment on Palmer’s extradition and the Zimbabwe Embassy in Washington said it had yet to receive instructions. “We are trying other avenues,” said Richard Chibuwe, the deputy chief of mission at the embassy in Washington. “Seeking extradition would be the last resort.”
Obama’s reply to Zimbabwe’s extradition petition is hampered by the relationship of the two countries. Washington has imposed penalties against Zimbabwe because of the country’s human rights violations and Zimbabwe, in turn, has accused the U.S. of jeopardizing its economy because of economic sanctions. President Robert Mugabe “has long railed against what he calls Western meddling in Africa, saying it is an extension of the colonial rule of the past.”
Obama’s reply to Zimbabwe’s petition to have Walter Palmer, the killer of 13-year-old Cecil the lion, extradited will most likely depend on “policy issues” between the two countries, as the White House spokesperson mentioned. Unlike Zimbabwe’s president, Obama’s administration might be counting on the public’s short-term memory and expect that within the required 60 days — Walter Palmer and Cecil the lion will be forgotten.