Togbe Afede XIV
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Frustrated about the unending violent chieftaincy clashes in Bimbilla in the Northern Region, the National House of Chiefs (NHC) and the National Peace Council (NPC) have jointly appealed to the Chief Justice, Justice Mrs. Georgina Theodora Wood, to help expedite the Bimbilla chieftaincy dispute case pending at the Supreme Court.

Describing the Bimbilla situation as a crisis which has led to the loss of many innocent lives, particularly women and children, the two institutions said there is an urgent need to have the dispute resolved decisively by the Supreme Court so as to prevent the intermittent clashes between the parties.

“We appeal to the Chief Justice as a matter of urgency, to ensure the early determination of the Bimbilla chieftaincy case currently pending before the Supreme Court as it is claiming innocent lives,” the two bodies requested.

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A statement jointly signed by the President of the NHC, Togbe Afede XIV and the Chairman of the NPC, Most Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Asante, also implored the law enforcement agencies to enforce all judgments of courts and Judicial Committees of the National and Regional Houses of Chiefs, and that the parties in the Bimbilla dispute have to abide by the outcome of the Supreme Court case.

The statement advised chiefs against encouraging parties in chieftaincy disputes to flout decisions of judicial bodies, stressing that, chiefs who engage in such conduct would be identified and sanctioned.

The statement indicated that “politicians should stop interfering in chieftaincy matters which encourages parties to flout adjudication decisions.”

In that regard, it appealed to litigants to refrain from hiding behind politicians to flout decisions that were not in their favor, and urged the police to treat persons who commit crimes in the name of chieftaincy as “criminals.”

Eleven people died and several others were injured in the latest clash in Bimbilla last February.

Although the case is pending at the Supreme Court, mediation experts believe the best way to resolve the Bimbilla conflict is to use Appropriate Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms which would have the grievances of all parties addressed under mutually acceptable conditions.

For instance, Mr. Solomon Namlit Boar, Deputy Northern Regional Minister, during his vetting in Parliament recently, proposed the use of ADR mechanisms to address the decades-old conflict in Bimbilla.

He maintained that ADR has a way of making feuding factions commit to “peacemaking” instead of the “peacekeeping” process that has characterised previous attempts to resolve the conflict.

Currently, there are more than 352 unresolved chieftaincy disputes that continue to linger in the courts and traditional house of chiefs, thereby hindering peace and development in the affected areas.

By: ADR Daily Newsdesk/