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Regional News of Thursday, 17 June 2004

Source: GNA

Two committees inaugurated to resolve Nkonya-Alavanyo dispute

Ho, Jun 17, GNA - The Volta Regional Security Council (REGSEC) on Wednesday inaugurated two committees to facilitate the settlement of the 80-year old land dispute between the people of Nkonya and Alavanyo traditional areas.

The groups are: The Mediation and Settlement Committee and the Consultative Committee.

The Right Reverend Livinsgtone Buama, Moderator of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, would chair the Mediation and Settlement Committee while the Consultative Committee consists of five representatives each from the feuding parties.

Mr Kwasi Owusu-Yeboa, Volta Regional Minister who performed the inaugural ceremony, said the Consultative Committee, would take up the responsibility of adopting and implementing measures to defuse tension and build up trust and goodwill among the belligerents. He said the Mediation and Settlement Committee would assist the two feuding parties to negotiate for an amicable settlement of the protracted conflict.

Mr Owusu-Yeboa reminded the committees of the statutory obligation and responsibility of REGSEC to ensure security in the two traditional areas, not withstanding the monitoring role of the Consultative Committee.

He said previous attempts at resolving the conflict had failed because of the apparent lack of genuine commitment on the part of the feuding parties.

Mr Owusu-Yeboa said: "Settlement is a voluntary act of the parties that cannot be lawfully enforced through external compulsion".

Mr Kwasi Owusu-Yeboa said the Committees were "a collection of very knowledgeable, experienced and honourable men and women who should command the respect and confidence of the people." "However, the role of the Committees in the settlement process will still be essentially that of a facilitator. The Committee will, therefore, need genuine commitment and cooperation from the parties in order to succeed."

The Minister said the formation of the Committees was a great challenge to the litigation groups to find a permanent solution to the conflict.

Mr Justice Paul Gyaesayor, Supervising High Court Judge who sworn the Committees members into office, said the Judiciary could now mediate in conflicts before the litigants resort to court actions.

He said resolution of cases by mediation foster reconciliation. The Right Reverend Francis Lodonu, Catholic Bishop of the Ho Diocese, who is member of the Mediation and Settlement Committee appealed to his colleagues to facilitate the work of the Committee by communicating the essence of peace to the people.