The National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons organised a Retreat for the new Board at the Volta Serene Hotel in Ho, from the 15th to18th November, 2017. The objective of the retreat was to expose the Board members to the nature, mandate, functions (Act 736 of 2007), activities, achievements and challenges, strength and weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the Commission and equip them for their mandate. The retreat was considered significant because it was expected to enable members to keep abreast of the nature of arms proliferation in the country as well as Ghana’s obligations under various International Instruments.
The retreat focused on discussing the future direction and priorities of the Commission. The Board members were provided with relevant information to enable them to discuss issues from an informed perspective and come out with the future direction and priorities of the NACSA to address the proliferation of small arms in the country going forward. The Board members were briefed on the history, mandate, achievements, challenges and resources at the disposal of the Commission, and an analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT analysis) of the NACSA was conducted.
The Board members upon much reflection and deliberations decided on a number of issues which included the following as the future direction and priorities of the Commission.
It was decided that:
- The Commission’s mandate be revised to make it a regulatory body instead of an advisory one.
- Without prejudice to existing mandates of MDAs, the Arms and Ammunition Legislation should be reviewed. The review must address identified gaps and consolidate all laws on arms and ammunition in Ghana for easy reference, clarity, monitoring and control.
- Consideration should be given to name change of the Commission due to its expanded role in the implementation of treaties and conventions that go beyond small arms and light weapons.
The Commission should:
- Take steps to establish Regional and District offices to enhance the Commission’s work and promote its visibility.
- Promote effective Border and Port Management to minimize arms smuggling.
- Show interest in illegal mining (Galamsey) areas in view of the nexus between small arms and illegal mining activities.
- Develop a Three-Year Action Plan for the Commission.
- Develop multi-sectorial approach for an alternative livelihood scheme for arms producing artisans.
- Explore an opportunity for blacksmiths (arms producing artisans) in the ‘One District, One Factory’ initiative of the Government.
- Carry out Public Education and Awareness Raising Campaigns on the dangers of illicit small arms in all the regions within the next three years.
- Develop a Communication Strategy.
- xii Take advantage of programmes such as durbars, festivals, musical shows or concerts, etc. to sensitize the public on the dangers associated with the abuse of small arms.
Building Strategic Alliances
- Identify key stakeholders of the Commission and build strategic alliances.
Gender and Policy Issues
- Give due consideration to gender in all policy matters since women and children are the most victims of armed violence.
The Board also recommended that:
- Steps should be taken to generate funds internally. The Commission and the Ghana Police Service should jointly consider making a case to government to retain a percentage of the revenue collected from gun registration and renewals.
- Severe Penal Sanctions for illegal manufacture of arms and arms smuggling should be considered in the legislative review to serve as deterrent, to correct the silence on the issue in the existing law.
- Amnesty and Moratorium strategies should be developed with attractive rewards to ensure that future Amnesty programmes are effective.
- The Commission should be given information on import permits and licences granted as well as imported arms into the country every year by the Ministry and Police.