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Regional News Fri, 20 Nov 2009

Duayaw Nkwanta validates data on ACLP

Duayaw Nkwanta (B/A), Nov. 20, GNA - The Chiefs and people of Duayaw Nkwanta in the Tano North District of Brong Ahafo have validated the findings of data collected from the area under the Ascertainment and Codification of Customary Law Project (ACLP). Two traditional areas each from the 10 Regional Houses of Chiefs in the country have been chosen for the execution of the project on pilot basis and the traditional area and Nkoranza had the regional slots among the 20 nationwide.

A press release made available to the Ghana News Agency by Mr. Thomas Tagoe, National Research Coordinator of the project, said the validation was done on Thursday a workshop at Duayaw Nkwanta. The release said the ACLP was a joint research project established by the National House of Chiefs and the Law Reform Commission with financial support from the German Development Cooperation (GTZ). The project is aimed at the ascertainment and codification of the customary law rules and practices on land and family in the country, the release added.

It explained that a Joint Steering Committee with membership from the two collaborating institutions had been established since 2006 for the implementation of the project.

According the release, "it is obvious even though customary law is an important source of law in Ghana, what constitute customary law in a particular community is not always clear".

"The Impact of this uncertainty is most prominent and evident in two areas of law which affect the most significant facets of national life in Ghana: family and land laws", the release said.

The release said land transactions in Ghana were beset with conflicts between the customary practices, rules and norms on one hand and the formal and statutory law on the other. It noted that customary lands which included lands owned by stools, skins, clans and families formed a significant percentage of all lands in Ghana.

"This state of affairs therefore reinforces the need for the ascertainment and codification of customary law rules applicable to particular communities in the country," the release stressed. Barima Akwasi Offe Okogyeasuo II, Paramount Chief of Kokofu in the Ashanti Region, and a member of the Joint Steering Committee who chaired the workshop, earlier stated different versions of customary law rules in many cases competed for pre-eminence which resulted to "great uncertainties". The Paramount Chief expressed regret that the lack of certainty in the customary law and conflicting accounts of customary law rules contributed significantly to family and land disputes in Ghana, particularly as regards the management of stool lands which constituted a crucial resource in this country, he added.

Barima Okogyeasuo II said there were gaps in the knowledge of customary law which also accounted for the high incidence of protracted chieftaincy disputes that had contributed to under-development in some communities of the country.

He hoped the systematized documentation of customary law rules that are easily ascertainable and accessible would be most valuable to the country as a whole.

Source: GNA