Sekondi — The Western Regional Inter-Party Dialogue Committee (IPDC) was inaugurated in Sekondi last Saturday with the objective to promote peace and resolve conflicts before, during and after this year's elections.
Additionally, the IPDC is expected to enhance political, economic and social progress and stability in the region.
Bishop Emmanuel Botchwey of the Christian Faith Church International was unanimously elected by the 40-member committee as the IPDC Regional Chairman.
The acting regional Director of the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE), Mr Justice Yaw Ennin, said the project would focus attention on mediation and the resolution of petty conflicts.
It would entail monitoring the enforcement of the electoral rules and regulations, promoting peaceful security situations, identifying issues that have the potential to trigger electoral conflict and also promoting information sharing to avoid rumour-mongering.
He said the committee would be used for dialogue to mitigate misinformation and misrepresentation amongst political parties and key stakeholders, thus providing the opportunity for all parties to air their concerns and problems.
Mr Ennin said the objectives include the initiation and sustenance of dialogue for stakeholders in resolution of conflicts that have the potential to affect the upcoming elections, to deepen collaboration between the NCCE, EC, political parties, the youth, security agencies, assemblies, traditional rulers, civil societies, and community leaders in the promotion of non-violence.
Reverend Dr Texman Tandoh, who inaugurated the committee, told members to monitor the behaviour of the electorates and supporters of the political parties as they were often used by the parties to commit electoral offences and also educate them on how to behave during the campaign.
In his acceptance speech, Bishop Botchwey appealed to political parties to carry out a campaign devoid of insults to avoid any conflict, saying, "Elections are major characteristics of future democratic processes, which lead to good governance and total participation of the masses."
He said, "Violence has been a part of Ghanaian politics from pre-independence elections to the present, where some Ghanaians have been victims of electoral conflict."
However, he said Ghana had chalked an impressive record of success in managing its elections, because the country has not been involved in serious electoral violence as experienced in other countries.
"The IPDCs will provide the effective strategies aimed at achieving free, fair and peaceful elections this year and the committees must work with the National Peace Council and all key stakeholders in the peace building," Bishop Botchwey added.