The Ghana National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons has noted with grave concern the recent incidence of gun violence reported in the media.
According to the Commission, the growing impact of Small Arms in the country especially as we approach the elections is worrying and must not be ignored by all peace loving Ghanaians.
It therefore reminded all and sundry that the proliferation and misuse of small arms was a threat to the security of people and nations across the world and Ghana was not an exception.
A statement to the media signed by Jones Borteye Applerh, Executive Secretary of the Commission, asked all Ghanaians to "soberly reflect on the bizzare experiences of other and nearby countries in the recent past which were once peaceful nations but were plunged into chaos and anarchy as a result of small arms proliferation and electoral challenges. In one of the countries, it is estimated that the conflict cost the country one million deaths while 200,000 persons were internally displaced. This is a cost that Ghana should not and cannot afford to pay."
"In every society disagreements exist but the proliferation of small arms and light weapons makes it easy for conflict to occur and escalate. In the wake of the alarming media reportage on the incidence of gun violence across the country, the Commission believes time has come for all to put our shoulders to the wheel and confront the situation head-on before the situation degenerates further."
It calls on all well-meaning Ghanaians to be conscious of the situation and make it a collective responsibility to rid our society of tools of armed violence.
The Commission further calls on all political parties and their leaders to prevail upon their supporters to desist from resorting to the use of guns to settle political disputes at the least provocation since elections are just a means of selecting our leaders and it is not worthwhile for anybody to die in that process.
It deems the carrying of weapons to social gatherings including registration centres as totally inexcusable and urge all Ghanaians particularly the youth participating in the on-going biometric registration exercise to use available current modern technology recording devices to capture the images of all those carrying weapons and causing mayhem at their respective registration centres and e-mail them to the Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org or make them available to the Police for the appropriate actions to be taken.
"As the country prepares for the upcoming 2012 general elections, incidence of armed violence will undermine Ghana's democratic credentials and development efforts. The Commission therefore is using this medium to renew our commitment to collaborate with the Police and indeed all security agencies to undertake initiatives that will help to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit use of small arms and light weapons in our country before, during and after the elections."
It says as the Commission plays its role in this regard, it is its expectation that other stakeholders such as civil society organizations and international development partners will join and support it to make Ghana a safe haven before, during and after the 2012 elections.