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04.11.2003 Regional News

Chiefs attend workshop on Alternative Dispute Resolution

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Sekondi, Nov 4, GNA - Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Western Regional Minister, on Tuesday said Regional Houses of Chiefs should be adequately resourced with funds, vehicles, equipment and personnel to enable them to improve the performance of their judicial functions.

He made the call in an address read for him at the opening of a two-day workshop on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) organised by the German Technical Assistance (GTZ) for members of the Regional House of Chiefs and Queen mothers.

Mr Aidoo said the Traditional Councils and the Houses of Chiefs have, in several respects proved themselves equal to the task in the performance of their judicial functions but they are functioning under very severe constraints that negatively affect their efforts. He said funds allocated to the Houses of Chiefs through the government as well as allowances paid to paramount chiefs are inadequate.

Mr Aidoo said, apart from the National House of Chiefs and the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs the other Regional Houses of chiefs do not have counsels and the Western Regional House of Chiefs has been struggling to get a counsel.

In addition, he said, the Houses of Chiefs lack vehicles and equipment and most traditional councils do not have qualified personnel to man them.

Speaking on land dispute settlement Mr Michael Owusu, a legal practitioner and a member of Ghana Association of Chartered Mediators and Arbitrators (GHACMA), said there are about 60,000 land cases pending before superior courts in the Greater Accra Region.

He said it takes an average of eight years to settle one land case and some of the cases have gone on for 40 years. Mr Owusu urged chiefs, as custodians of the land, to help settle these cases out of court and ensure justice in the settlement of the cases.

He said the workshop was being organised to equip traditional rulers with techniques of ADR to assist in the settlement of numerous land cases pending before the courts.

Similar workshops have already been held in the Brong-Ahafo, Ashanti, Greater Accra, Northern, Upper East, Upper West and Eastern Regions.

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