Dr Kodjo Mensah-Abrampah, the Director General of National Development Planning Commission, has called on Ghanaians to see elections as a developmental decision and not only the election of leaders to govern the country.
This, he explained, was imperative because the elected leaders were expected to implement developmental projects for the nation in line with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda.
Dr Mensah-Abrampah said this on Wednesday at a stakeholders' forum on peaceful elections on the theme "Towards Election 2020 in Ghana and its Implications on the SDGs and Development".
The forum was organised by Abibiman Foundation, an NGO, in partnership with the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC).
The 2030 Agenda for SDGs was adopted by world leaders in September 2015 as a successor framework to the Millennium Development Goals.
It provides a shared framework that foster collaboration among development actions, mobilise stakeholder and promote integrated thinking and actions.
He said a peaceful election would depict the country as a safe place for doing business within the sub-district and attract foreign direct investment, which was necessary to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 SDGs.
"A peaceful, free and fair elections would boost Ghana's credentials as a matured democracy and attract goodwill from the international community", he added.
He said by integration of the SDGs into the planning and budgeting processes, the 2030 would not be perceived as a special development framework, but become part of the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies programmes.
However, the outcome of previous elections were hailed by international media, the diplomatic missions and other stakeholders as a model of peace in the West Africa region.
Mr Mensah-Abrampah stated that the major threat to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda was the eruption of violence before, during and after the elections, stressing that it behooved on all to work towards ensuring peaceful 2020 elections.
Major General Francis Ofori, the Commandant of KAIPTC, said despite the wide acceptance that transparent and credible elections remained the most viable, legal and legitimate form of accessing political power, the winner takes-all attitude towards elections in West Africa had resulted in pre and post-election related violence.
He added that Ghana's elections and democratic transitions had been a model for other countries to emulate, and therefore could not afford to have an election that would be marred by widespread political violence.
"We need to understand and respond to the multiplicity of issues that have the propensity to create tensions and increase violence before and after the elections'' he said.
Mr Alexander Poku Akubia, the Acting Director, Research, Monitoring and Evaluation, Electoral Commission, said the Commission would adhere to its mandate of ensuring credible electoral processes for the impending general election.
He said, for the country to achieve free and fair electoral processes and the SDGs, the country must be free from violence, bribery, cheating, intimidation and abuse of incumbency.
"Ghana as a nation should adopt and implement the SDG 16 and strive to achieve the relevant targets in respect to the 2020 elections to ensure that the electoral processes was managed to ensure peaceful and inclusive society".
Mr Kwabena Okai Ofosuhene, the Founder of Abibiman Foundation, urged Ghanaians to discuss policies of developmental projects than focusing on politics which divide the citizenry.
He said the country could not develop without peaceful existence, adding that the cost of peace cannot be equated to the cost of war.