While a leading member of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has revealed his party’s readiness to shed blood in order to “show the NPP where power lies”, the newly-sworn in president of the Ghana National Association of Alternative Dispute Resolution Practitioners (GNAAP) has charged politicians to adopt a “Ghana first” mentality towards the upcoming December polls in order not to disturb the nation’s peace and stability.
The NDC’s Yaw Afrifa Yamoah Ponkoh, a former Municipal Chief Executive for Ejisu Juaben, threatened last week, when he appeared as a panel member on the ‘morning drive’ of Kumasi-based Pure FM: “This year, we shall see… You (NPP) won power through deception. It will be bloody this year.”
But Mr Daniel Owusu-Koranteng, who was sworn in as the first elected president of GNAAP over the weekend, has cautioned all politicians to consider the collective interest of the nation and the peace of the masses in any action they take towards the elections.
“I believe any politician worth his or her salt will adopt the Ghana first mentality towards the elections so that the nation’s peace is not unduly disturbed for the masses to suffer the repercussions. The December polls should not lead to bloodshed. “Politicians who will want the blood of innocent citizens to be shed in order for them to win power do not have the interest of the people at heart, and only seek their parochial interest. The electorate should not entertain such politicians,” Mr Owusu-Koranteng noted in an interview with the Daily Statesman after his swearing in.
Delivering his inaugural address, Mr Owusu-Koranteng, who is also the General Secretary of the Ghana Maritime and Dockworkers Union, pledged the commitment of his group towards “building a peaceful country” before, during and after the December 7 general elections.
He indicated that his administration has inherited an association with a great potential of over 1,000-trained Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) professionals and potential members who have diverse expertise and competencies to deal with various conflict situations.
“We will not have any excuse if we are unable to take off because the past leaders have given us the wings to fly,” he stated.
Access to justice
Mr Owusu-Koranteng noted that ADR holds the key to improving access to justice for most Ghanaians as well as promoting peace building in the country.
“Surveys indicate that only 20 per cent of disputes in Ghana end up in our regular courts. Some of the social and cultural barriers that prevent access to justice include poverty, low level of education and some institutional barriers. Some of our people find the court system too intimidating and citizens sometimes resort to deities and spiritualism to seek justice. This is what I would describe as ‘Spiritual Adjudication’.
“Even with the low level of dispute settlement in courts, the courts are suffering under a heavy backlog of unsettled cases, resulting in frustration and litigation fatigue for many disputing parties,” he stated.
He said his administration has taken over GNAAP with the foremost objective of harnessing the human and material resources of the group “to build a strong ADR professional regulatory body to advance the objectives of GNAAP in promoting ADR as a dispute resolution tool and for peace building.”
“In contrast to the adversarial and expensive nature of the court system, ADR is a cost-effective dispute resolution tool, which ensures timely resolution of disputes in addition to its conciliatory benefit for the disputing parties,” he noted.
According to Mr Owusu-Koranteng, Ghana has the potential to be the ADR hub for the West African sub-region and Africa.
“Ghana has been recognised as a key actor in peace building initiatives, conflict resolution and conflict management efforts in Africa and globally,” he stressed.
Offer worthy examples
Alex Nartey, patron of GNAAP, called on the new executives to use their professional skills to fast-track resolution of matters brought before them, and live exemplary lives with high moral standards.
He noted that litigation is a major threat to peace building in every human endeavour, and urged ADR practitioners to take serious steps to resolve land litigations and other disputes to save lives and properties.
He admonished the executives not to compromise on their responsibilities, while entreating them to live with the ethics and professional standards of ADR.
Other executives inducted into office were Wogbe Atta Dogoe, vice-president; Mark Anderson, general secretary; Anastasia Asmoah-Gyimah, deputy general secretary; Efui Tamakloe Appeakorang, project officer; Nana Adu Yeboah, treasurer; Nii Armah Ashitey, organiser; and Isaac Asare, administrator/public relations officer.
Source:. Daily Statesman