Robert Sarfo Mensah, GNAAP President
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In the quest to resolve the many chieftaincy disputes across the country, the Ghana Association of ADR Practitioners (GNAAP) has declared its support to the National House of Chiefs towards settling the cases.

More than 352 chieftaincy disputes linger in the Courts and Regional House of Chiefs with some dragging for decades, thereby impeding peace and development in the respective traditional areas.

But the GNAAP believes the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism is the best option to use in resolving these cases.

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Declaring its support to the National House of Chiefs (NHC) in an interview with ADR Daily on how to use ADR to resolve some of the decades-old conflicts, Mr. Robert Sarfo Mensah, President of GNAAP said the association was prepared to actively partner the National and Regional House of Chiefs in that regard.

In that respect, he said the members of the association are ready to offer pro bono (free) services in resolving the disputes.

In addition, he said the association’s Centre for Citizens Empowerment (CCE), was prepared to collaborate with the NHC towards equipping their Registrars and adjudication officials with ADR skills to enable them to effectively mediate some of the complaints.

Citing a number of chieftaincy disputes, such as the Alavanyo-Nkonya conflict in the Volta region and Bimbilla conflict in the Northern region, that have raged for decades, he said ADR mechanisms can be used to address the interest of all parties for peace to prevail.

He also said, although the court system was good, it only offers a “win-lose” outcome without addressing the root cause of the conflict resulting in situations where the parties, especially the defeated side leave the court more aggrieved.

But under ADR which offers an interest based approach, all interest groups will be identified and brought to the arbitration table.

That, he said, was because in such chieftaincy cases, there are multiple interest groups whose concerns needed to be addressed.

“ADR is the best tool to satisfy all interests,” he stressed.

At the start of arbitration, parties are free to choose their mediators, adding, there is openness during the arbitration process and all parties are given the opportunity to express their concerns and interests in detail.

“This helps to build trust in the process, and by trusting each other and appreciating each other’s concerns and interest, parties would themselves build consensus on the solution,” Mr. Sarfo Mensah said.

Providing some success cases, he said a chieftaincy case that had been in court for over a decade was recently resolved through ADR in less than a month.

In addition to working with the NHC, Mr. Sarfo Mensah, who is also the Director General of the National Sports Authority, said the association was ready to partner the National Peace Council (NPC) in resolving disputes amicably, including chieftaincy conflicts that hamper development.

On when such collaborations would start, he said the next Council meeting of the association would discuss the arrangements and make a formal proposal to the NHC and NPC.

Touching on the successes of Centre for Citizens Empowerment, he said; in 2016 the centre received 74 cases consisting of 16 family disputes, 10 labour disputes, 26 commercial disputes, 18 land disputes, one tenancy dispute and three uncategorized cases, adding that 49 cases were settled amicably through mediation, while 10 were given legal assistance, with 15 cases ongoing.

For instance in July 2009, ADR mechanisms were used to settle an 89 year old chieftaincy dispute between the people of Kpetoe and Afegame.

Also, in February 2004, an ADR Committee settled the Bortianor Chieftaincy Dispute out of court amicably.

By Samuel Mingle/

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ADR Daily is a specialized news portal with a focus on providing authentic news, information and research analysis on Appropriate Dispute Resolution (ADR), Human Resource Management (HRM) and Industrial Relations Management (IRM) in Ghana and beyond. This platform serves as an information resource base for the progress of the ADR, HRM and IRM industries, and seeks to promote professionalism in ADR practice by supporting a network of ADR professionals within and across nations and continents. ADR Daily keenly encourages the mass adoption of ADR mechanisms, particularly negotiation, mediation and arbitration for the resolution of disputes in all spheres, through the publication of industry news and information, as well as by deploying innovative awareness creation engagements.