Posted: Thursday 28th August 2014 at 11:36 am

Weapon buyback not panacea to Bawku conflict – Kwesi Aning


Security Analyst, Emmanuel Kwesi Aning says government’s decision to buy back weapons from warring factions in Bawku in the Upper East Region, will not necessarily lead to lasting peace there.

Dr. Aning believes government must rather look into the multiple roles guns play in the lives of people of the area and tackle the problem from that angle.

Recurrent gun violence in the Bawku area has claimed scores of lives in the past decade with its resultant destruction of property running into millions of cedis.

Government on Wednesday offered a month’s amnesty for residents possessing illegal weapons turn them in and receive cash incentives.

Interior Minister Mark Woyongo warned those who fail to comply with the directive would be hunted, arrested and prosecuted after the amnesty period.

Speaking however, on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM, Thursday, the Director at the Faculty of Academic Affairs and Research at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in Accra, noted that “weapons buyback programmes operationally everywhere, have not been successful”.

A similar exercise carried out by the government in the year 2000 saw less than a thousand guns returned, Dr. Aning told Super Morning Show host, Kojo Yankson.

Relationship with arms
He maintained: “We need to understand the multiple reasons why people get guns; we also need to understand the demand and supply part of the guns trade”.

“If people in Bawku feel insecure naturally, the demand for guns will be very high because people feel they would have to protect themselves and those who supply…will make the guns available,” he added.

He suggested a stakeholder conversation led by the Ghana National Commission on Small Arms, and factions involved in the protracted conflict to “bring in the little that they have into the pot”.  

“I think probably, some kind of a stakeholder conversation [with the Ghana National Commission on Small Arms leading it] might be quite useful as to what do we do, in ensuring that people actually see it as their own interest, in handing these guns back and reporting those who have those guns”.

Dr. Aning wants the government to also adopt the approach of letting residents know the economic cost of the conflict to general development of Bawku and the region as a whole.

“Let’s give people a comparative basis to shift from an environment of insecurity to one of stability and development and let’s put the figures on the table…Let’s get people to say peace is much better than this consistent recurrent violence in which some people are profiting”. Story by Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | Jerry Tsatro Mordy | [email protected]

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