Last Saturday night was supposed to be etched in the annals of Ghanaian music as one of the epic moments. After two decades of Ghana Music Awards, it was the time for retrospective view, celebration of our heritage and music personalities.
Regrettably, the recklessness of two artistes - Charles Nii Armah Mensah otherwise known as Shatta Wale and Livingstone Etse Satekla, known in the entertainment circle as Stonebwoy, has made the day, Ghanaian Music's greatest day of shame.
To say we are disappointed in the two of them is an understatement. We are totally appalled and condemn in no uncertain term, the display of immaturity and the show of pointless bravado, all in the name of entertainment rivalry.
Indeed rivalry is not new to the entertainment sphere as we have witnessed tensions between artistes like Daddy Lumba and Nana Acheampong among other successful musicians but it had remained at war of words through their songs. It never degenerated in a brawl or anybody drawing a gun.
So to go to the extent of engaging in a brawl on live stage at the most auspicious music awards ceremony in the country with Stonebwoy displaying a gun, is totally unacceptable, irrespective of who initiated the whole melee.
Many people could have been injured or killed should that gun had been fired mistakenly.
The Ghanaian Times is glad that the two have been arrested and we urge the Ghana Police Service to get to the bottom of the issue and ensure that they were duly sanctioned.
The untoward incident has brought to the fore the issue of security at such shows. We need explanations as to how Stonebwoy or his associates were able to smuggle a gun to the ceremony. Does it mean that there were no proper checks at the entrance?
At a time that terrorism has become a topical issue in the world with a number of deadly attacks recorded in neighbouring countries, security should not be lost on event organisers during such shows.
We cannot confirm if Stonebwoy's gun was licensed. If it is not, the necessary action must be taken against him. If it is, we call on the Central Firearms Registry of the Ghana Police Service to revoke his license.
Section 7 of the Arms and Ammunition Act 1972, which focuses on control of public display of arms or ammunition, states "No person shall, except in accordance with the terms of a permit granted under this decree or with the written consent of the Inspector-General of Police, publicly display any arms or ammunition (including explosives) or discharge any firearm or other weapon in any public place."
Ghana's Entertainment and Media (E&M) industry has more than tripled in value since 2013, with the total revenue reaching $752 million in 2017, a PwC report has said.
According to the "entertainment and media outlook: 2018 and 2022," this should reach $1 billion in 2019 to total $1.5 billion in 2022, increasing at a 14.2 per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR).
Instead of fighting, our artistes must collaborate and make the best of the industry.
We, therefore, call on the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Musicians Union of Ghana and other stakeholders to step in to reunite the two artistes before their feud gets into tragic levels.
Charterhouse, organisers of the awards event, must also sanction them to serve as deterrent to others.
Ghanaians are a happy people. We love our music and the last thing we should have is an unhealthy competition. We need sanity in the industry. Our artistes should make music not war.