Opinion: How illegal weapons can plunge Ghana into war

Opinion: How illegal weapons can plunge Ghana into war

Ghana's security is currently under threat following recent concerns over the proliferation of over 1.1 million unregistered weapons in the country.

A parliamentary briefing paper by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Foundation warns that even though Ghana's security is boosting efforts to clamp down on the proliferation of small arms, there remain the highest possibility of civil war in the country ahead of the 2016 general election. According to the report, small arms may be used throughout the election cycle - before, during and after elections stating that activities before elections such as voter registration and compilation of a credible voters' register are affected by the abuse of small arms.

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Unscrupulous persons intimidate prospective voters with small arms during voter registration; hence prospective voters for fear fail to turn up for registration. Supporters of political parties tend to arm themselves against one another as a response to the suspicion that their opponents may be armed and violent, the report reveals.

It may be recalled that the police service burned down over  a thousand small arms and weapons in Accra on July 8 but fears remain that most peddlers involving political foot soldiers and fundamentalists are hiding their stockpiles of such weapons ahead of the 2016 general elections.  Yes, it remains a fact that Ghana had survived past bouts of election violence but with regards heated political climate in the country, fears over a possible clash are high.

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So far, there are indications that people may choose to express their frustration, suspicion and dissatisfaction with the outcome of this year's elections through the use of arms as it happened in Cote d'Ivoire in 2010 - a development which has seen the call for gun violence re-echoed.

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Meanwhile, the small arms commission has facilitated training for officers of the Ghana Immigration Service, Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) as well as the Ghana Police Service on border control and management with respect to small arms control but could that be enough?

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