Regional News of Wed, 14 Jan 20040

Tema chiefs educated on conflict resolution

Tema, Jan. 14, GNA - Nii Adjei Kraku II, chief of Tema, on Wednesday suggested the need for traditional councils to set targets and implement their own plan of action that would be satisfactory to their area of jurisdiction.

It should also be possible for chiefs to adopt the "meet the press" concept to bring out their views in order to avoid all sorts of suspicions, which and also a means of accountability to the people. These suggestions were contained in a speech read for him by Mr Seth Ago Adjetey, an Accounts Consultant and an elder of the Tema Traditional Council at the opening of a three-day training programme in Conflict Management and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) for chiefs in Tema. The programme, organised by the Ghana Association of Chartered Mediators and Arbitrators (GHACMA) is being sponsored by the United States Democracy and Human Rights Fund, initiators of the ADR in the country.

He said studies of the common causes of the chieftaincy disputes readily suggest that traditional councils should have their own constitutions, apart from the Chieftaincy Act, to guide them and indicated that the suggestions could be more preventive in effect than curative.

Nii Kraku expressed concern about the lack of concern and initiative at resolving the ever-increasing disputes "we seem to take much delight in merely talking about Chieftaincy and other disputes".

He said, and regretted that those placed in responsible positions to ensure that such disputes are settled lack the initiative or have deliberately refused to show concern in resolving them.

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The chief commended the organisers of the programme, which would help create awareness to enable the participants to have an insight into the unproductive effects that such disputes impact on society with a view to rectifying them.

"With such chosen topic, we hope the years will bring peace, spirit of togetherness, co-operation, understanding and sense of maturity so that during stocktaking, we would be talking about progress issues and not conflicts".

In a speech read on his behalf, Mr Samuel Evans Ashong Narh, Tema Municipal Chief Executive noted that the ADR concept is similar to the Colonial administration of the indirect rule, which was carried out through the traditional rulers.

Ms Barbara Kalb, representative of the United States Embassy noted that the institution of the ADR has helped to free the courts of many cases and entreated the public to embrace the concept.

In an opening address, Mr Felix Korley, President of the GHACMA noted that the Chieftaincy institution in Ghana would become modern by the injection of the ADR mode of resolution of disputes in their traditional concept and practice of justice.

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He urged the government, civil society groups, the NGOs and opinion leaders not only to embrace the process, but to advocate its speedy administration alongside the judicial process.

There is the need to make adequate financial resources available for the training programme to cover the country.

Topics to be treated include introduction to conflict/conflict assessment/management, introduction to mediation and the courts and lands dispute settlement: situation, problems and the way forward among others.

Mr Seth Laryea Tetteh, a participant who is the chairman of the Arbitration Committee of the Tema Traditional Council said in settling cases at their levels they were often faced with frustrations and hoped the training programme would expose them to technicalities to enable them to tackle their cases efficiently.

The function was chaired by Mr David Quinn, Director of the Public Affairs Section of the US Embassy.

Source: GNA

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