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ADR necessary in curbing vigilantism — Austin Gamey

BY: Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson
Mr Austin Gamey
Mr Austin Gamey

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) should be considered as part of measures to help curtail political vigilantism in the country, an ADR expert, Mr Austin Gamey, has proposed.

He lauded President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s appeal to the two main political parties in the country, the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC), to agree on curbing vigilantism.

“There is high level of mistrust that has bedevilled our political scene leading to extreme partisanship. What is required is for an ADR mechanism that will facilitate a summit for the leadership of political parties to enable us to have a long-lasting solution to this problem,” Mr Gamey said.

The ADR expert made the proposal in an interview at the graduation and induction ceremony of Professional Master Certificate of ADR organised by Gamey and Gamey Group in Accra last Saturday.

Gamey and Gamey Group started the ADR programme in 2003 with the aim of helping people acquire the necessary skills in dispute prevention, early resolution of conflicts and interest-based negotiation in areas such as labour issues, commercial, family, land and chieftaincy disputes.

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Concerns

The recent spate of lawlessness by vigilante groups associated with the two main political parties has exposed some security lapses in the country leading to concerns being raised by various individuals, groups and institutions.

Delivering the State of the Nation Address (SONA) last Thursday, President Akufo-Addo called on the leadership of the NPP and the NDC to come together and agree on measures to curb the growing trends in political vigilantism.

He, however, said he would initiate a legislation to deal with the issue, if the two parties failed to voluntarily disband those groups.

Reaction

Reacting to the President’s directives, Mr Gamey said even though enacting legislation was laudable, it would not lead to a lasting solution to the problem.

“We have had a lot of legislation to stem other forms of disputes such as chieftaincy, land and religion, but problems in those sectors still persist.

Legislation alone may not be the solution.

To have a solution, we must enter the heart of the politicians and the society that encourages vigilantism; ADR is the best option,” he added.

He said with ADR, the political parties would come up with their own solutions they could relate to and not those imposed on them, adding, “If you impose a solution on them, it will be business as usual.”

According to Mr Gamey, ADR would offer a platform for dialogue and cooperation instead of the entrenched positions people took during litigations.

He commended the Chief Justice, Ms Sophia Akuffo, for championing ADR as part of the justice delivery system in the country.

Mr Gamey, however, stated that: “There has to be new approach to the learning of ADR to enable new lawyers to develop interest in the use of ADR. Lawyers of yesterday are interested in legislation even though they claim they want ADR; therefore we need to infuse ADR in new lawyers,” he added.

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PULL Quote

“We have had a lot of legislation to stem other forms of disputes such as chieftaincy, land and religion, problems in those sectors still persist. Legislation alone may not be the solution. To have a solution, we must enter the heart of the politicians and the society that encourages vigilantism; ADR is the best option.”