The National Peace Council (NPC) on Wednesday set out an inter-party political engagement roadmap towards attainment of peaceful, credible and fair elections in 2012.
The engagement starting from 2010 would focus on creating a platform for discussion of key developments since Election 2008, review NPC's Election 2008 engagement strategies and initiate a process to build consensus between political parties and other democratic stakeholders.
Discussing the modalities at the first consultative engagement forum with political parties in Accra, His Eminence Peter Cardinal Appiah Turkson, NPC Chairman, noted that despite recent significant governance achievements, Ghana continued to face a number of potentially violent challenges, which could threaten its stability and democracy.
The NPC is an independent body, which provides a platform for consensus building on potentially divisive issues and for promoting national reconciliation.
The engagement is a sequel to an earlier one the Council held before general elections in December last year on how to ensure peace during the polls.
He said: "The outcome of Elections 2012 needs to be worked for as violence free-election is not attained on a silver platter..We must all begin the process of inter-party engagement early enough."
Cardinal Turkson said the process would engage political parties, media practitioners, civil society organisations, security agencies and all other democratic forces in the country.
He said last year's elections had catapulted Ghana into high democratic standard globally.
"I was elated and felt very proud when Ghana's democratic credentials were touted at the Vatican during the Bishops' Conference and cited for other emerging democratic states to emulate."
Cardinal Turkson also used the forum to commend the various stakeholders - Electoral Commission, National Commission for Civic Education, political parties, and media for their individual and collective roles in the landmark election last year.
The forum was attended by representatives of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), New Patriotic Party (NPP), Democratic Freedom Party (DFP), and People's National Congress (PNC).
The rest were Democratic People's Party (DPP), Convention People's Party (CPP) and Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP).
In 2005, the Government of Ghana established a national infrastructure for peace building, known as the "National Architecture for Peace."
The infrastructure brought civil society groups, community-based organizations, professional bodies and faith-based organizations together with governance structures and security agencies, into a national framework for anticipating and responding to signs of violent conflict.
The national architecture for peace opens spaces for "community dialogue" on conflict issues and facilitates processes for resolving them.
It also serves as an early warning mechanism on potential conflicts and engages state officials at different levels in ensuring timely response to the issues raised.
The national architecture for peace is the first official national programme for peace building in Africa.
It is in alignment with the Resolution of African leaders at the First Standing Conference on Stability, Security and Development in Africa, Durban, in 2002, for each country to establish a national framework for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts.
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