The call was made this week at a meeting of Zimbabwe Civic organisations at a local hotel. The meeting brought together 15 civic groups to review what needs to be done in order to create the space for free and fair elections.
The civic organisations agreed that Mugabe should repeal all the repressive laws and lift all restrictions on the media.
Amos Makoni from Zimrights said the civic organisations, human rights groups and local and international NGOs had a wealth of experience drawn from former troubled spots like Rwanda and Sierra Leone.
Makoni said that although Zimbabwe was not in the commonwealth, its people had always remained part of it and human rights groups wanted to re-engage with civic society.
“There is no competition going on between SADC, AU and now the commonwealth to see who can engage Zimbabwe better,” said Makoni.
Tim Hamilton from International Peace Projects (IPP) said: “As international organisations our idea is to help innocent Zimbabweans. We want to use every tool in the tool bag to ensure that there is rule of law in Zimbabwe.”
Martin Gray a media consultant from South Africa who also attended the meeting said: “The pre-2000 environment in Zimbabwe in which the media was not regulated and citizens were allowed to set up their newspapers without hindrance is what Zimbabwe desperately needs now.”
Gray called for the repeal of the repressive media and security laws, which had been used to stifle NGOs and human rights groups in the past.
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