The country’s major political parties have appealed to government to better equip security agencies to stop the inflow of illegal weapons.
They are asking government to provide the Immigration Service with the needed equipment such as scanners and metal detectors on the country’s borders to effectively play this role.
There have been a number of arms seizures by security agencies since the beginning of the year in the Western, Volta, Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions. Some of these weapons were being smuggled in from Cote Divoire and Burkina Faso.
The political parties are also calling on government to empower the Small Arms Commission to effectively monitor arms import.
The demands were contained in a two-page communiqué issued at the end of a two-day forum on armed violence in elections in Ada organised by the Small Arms Commission and Police. The forum was under the theme: “Peaceful General Elections in 2016; the Role of the Political Parties.”
Below is the full communiqué.
We the participating political parties, consisting of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the People’s National Convention (PNC), Convention People’s Party (CPP), Progressive People’s Party (PPP), All People’s Congress (APC), The Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP), Independent People’s Party (IPP), United Progressive Party (UPP) and Ghana Freedom Party (GFP) met at a workshop organized by the Ghana National Commission On Small Arms and the Ghana Police Service Under The Auspices Of The National Election Security Taskforce from 24th -25th May 2016 at the Aqua Safari Hotel, Ada.
At the end of the two-day workshop, participants agreed and made the following commitments:
- POLITICAL TURBULENCE AND ARMED VIOLENCE
- That all political parties denounce and renounce the use of violence in resolving electoral disputes.
- That we reject electoral violence in all forms and disassociate ourselves from all “vigilante groups” and their activities.
- That we shall not employ the services of militant pressure groups at any time before, during and after the 2016 general elections.
- Political Parties commit to exposing any undesirable elements within our ranks and hand them over to the authorities.
- Security personnel who misconduct themselves during elections must be reported immediately to the nearest police station for action.
- Political parties will count on the security agencies to live up to their constitutional mandate to remain impartial and professional in discharging their functions before, during and after the elections.
- To appeal that the National Media Commission takes steps to curtail the use of offensive and provocative language against political opponents in the media.
B. PROVISION OF POLICE BODY GUARDS TO PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES
8. That the Ghana Police Service shall provide security to all duly elected Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates provided a formal request is received from a political party.
9. That all political parties shall take immediate steps to engage the police on the selection and assignment of police personnel they need as bodyguards by 8th June, 2016 or thereafter.
10.That once Police receive formal request from a political party or Presidential candidate, the Inspector General of Police shall detail police personnel to provide security for the elected presidential and Vice Presidential candidates.
C. GOOD GOVERNANCE
11. To eliminate the current institutionalized exclusion of governance and allow other political parties and groups to participate and share their ideas and aspirations in the governance of the State, steps should be taken in medium term to reexamine the winner-takes-all system of governance by opening the political space for participatory democracy to thrive.
D. CURBING THE PROLIFERATION OF SMALL ARMS AND GUN CONTROL
12. That state security agencies should work with all stakeholders to identify illicit weapons in the country and take immediate steps to curb the supply of such weapons and ammunitions into the country.
13. That the State Security Agencies to apply the laws governing the abuse of arms fairly and firmly to all manner of persons who are found breaking the laws irrespective of their political affiliation.
E. EFFECTIVE BORDER CONTROL
14 On the Government to strengthen the border management security institutions by providing them the needed equipment such as scanners and metal detectors that will facilitate their effort in identifying smuggled weapons into Ghana.
F. NATIONAL COMMISSION ON SMALL ARMS (NACSA)
15. Government to empower the Small Arms Commission to effectively monitor arms import, renewal of arms import licenses, and accountability of arms distribution and acquisition.