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As ADR practitioners prepare to embark on the maiden mediation expedition to Afadjato, the highest mountain in Ghana, chiefs in the area are highly expectant of the trip.

The chiefs, who would be offered free mediation training by facilitators from the Gamey and Gamey Group, are eager to learn and use mediation to resolve their community disputes.

According to the chiefs, disputes emanating from forest reserve encroachment, illegal felling of trees, trespassing on farm lands, chieftaincy, inter-family disagreements, were threatening the peace of the area.

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Togbega Homatekpor V
Togbega Homatekpor V

The mediation expedition, being organised by ADR Daily, is aimed at rallying mediators and other professionals to conquer mount Afadja, as well as hold a mediation clinic for the community.

During a pre-expedition visit to the mountain last Saturday by the ADR Daily team, the chiefs and community members lauded the mediation project, trusting that it would help in resolving their disputes.

Togbega Homatekpor V, Paramount Chief of Gbledi Tradtional Area, in an interview, told ADR Daily that the chiefs, a number of years ago, undertook a training in customary arbitration but they have not been comfortable deciding on matters using arbitration.

“From the look of things, the arbitration procedure has been bringing hatred and rancor, but we trust that mediation will be helpful since it provides a win-win situation,” he said.

Togbe Adabra IV
Togbe Adabra IV

Touching on the illegal felling of trees in the forest which has been declared a forest reserved following a community initiated conservation project, the chief expressed optimism that mediation would help in resolving the frequent disputes between the encroachers and community leaders.

“Mediation will to a large extent, help by getting those felling the trees and the community stakeholders to talk for a win-win solution, rather than to take the offenders to court or arbitration,” he said.

He thanked ADR Daily and its partners, including Gamey and Co ADR Centre and a number of ADR institutions, for the support, and looked forward to meeting the mediators and other professional participating in the expedition to the mountain on August 24, 2019.

Togbe Adabra IV, Chief of Gbledi Tongor, and Mankralo of Gbledi-Gbogame for his part, stressed the need for communities to adopt mediation to resolve disputes amicably.

A meeting between community leaders and encroachers in session
A meeting between community leaders and encroachers and in session

He cited instances where inter-personal disputes have festered into family and community conflicts that have also threatened the peace of the area.

Sometimes, he said small disputes aggravate into multiple disputes, to the extent that the cause of the original dispute is totally lost.

“There must be jaw-jaw before war-war,” he said, adding that ADR offers the opportunity for amicable resolution.

By Edmund Mingle/adrdaily.com