Land Dispute Resolution in Ghana - Role of Customary Land Secretariats. Case of Gbawe Customary Land Secretariat

 
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Acknowledgement

This dissertation would not have been possible without the guidance and help of several individuals and institutions who in one way or another contributed and extended their valuable assistance in the preparation and completion of this study. First of all, I wish to express my profound gratitude to DAAD for munificently sponsoring my studies in Germany. I also would like to make a special reference to Prof. Holger Magel, head of the Chair of Land Management and Land Tenure, TUM whose sincerity and encouragement I will never forget. He has been a father, a mentor and a supervisor. I am sincerely thankful to my supervisor, Dr. Fahria Masum, whose encouragement, supervision and support from the preliminary to the concluding level enabled me to develop an understanding of the subject. I also express my sincere gratitude to the entire staff of the Chair of Land Management, TUM especially, Dr Zulsdorf, Jorge Espinoza, Bruce Rukundo, Chibu Eugene, Sammie Mabekie, Dr. Michael Klaus, Willie Zimmerman and Ms Melanie Djedje. I am most grateful for their encouragement and guidance in the completion of this programme. My sincere thanks also go to my colleagues and friends for your encouragement and moral support. I owe much appreciation to Josephine Montford and Gloria Appiah for their prayers and encouragement during my study period. I would like to extend my gratitude to the staff of the Ghana Land Administration Project (LAP), and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), Eschborn especially the Project Land Policy and Land Management team. I owe them appreciation for helping me with literature for this work. Last but not least, I thank my family and the omnipresent God, for giving me the strength to plod especially in difficult times and for making this thesis a possibility. Thank you so much Dear Lord.

This dissertation is dedicated to my parents Mr. and Mrs. Appiah.

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Abstract

As a basic economic asset to humanity, land is invariably a source of power and wealth, and therefore has an increasing demand. The current trend of market production, population growth and urbanization has enhanced the economic value of land increasing competition and land scarcity. The net effect of this is an ever increasing dispute over land and land resources. However, most developing countries including Ghana lack an effective and efficient system for dealing with such disputes especially at the customary level. The alarming nature of the incidence in Ghana is showcased by the fact that, as at 2003 the number of backlog of land cases in the courts stood at about 35,000. The effects of such disputes on the socio-economic development of Ghana are so devastating that it has caught the attention of many researchers. The complexity of factors leading to land disputes, as well as their diversity and the large number of different stakeholders involved requires a multi-faceted approach for resolving them and for preventing potential ones which might come up in future. The study has attempted to investigate how the Customary Land Secretariat (CLS) has contributed to land dispute resolution in Ghana through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms. The Gbawe CLS was selected as a case study area for this study. In this study it has been established that the CLS concept is a laudable idea that has a lot of potential benefits for the efficient and effective resolution of land dispute at the customary level through the Customary ADR mechanisms. However, the customary institutions are faced with major financial constraints and low level know-how. The administrative and organisational structure of the CLS and Land Management Committee is a main contributor of these constraints. The study emphasises on the need to allow flexibility and innovation within the general framework of the CLS programme to allow the secretariats to evolve and assume a nature by which they can better serve the dispute resolution needs at the customary level. The researcher has made recommendations on measures to improve customary ADR mechanisms. Further recommendation with the light of Land Administration and Land Management has been provided to reduce future disputes. A model has been developed to ensure the financial sustainability of the CLS as well as improve its record management system. The concept is gradually evolving and would need time and maximum support from all stakeholders. Key words: Customary Land Secretariat, Land Management Committee, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Conflict Management, Gbawe CLS, and Ghana.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgement ........................................................................................................................... i Abstract .......................................................................................................................................... ii List of Figures .............................................................................................................................. vii List of Boxes ............................................................................................................................... viii List of Tables ............................................................................................................................... viii List of Photos .............................................................................................................................. viii Map.............................................................................................................................................. viii List of Abbreviations ..................................................................................................................... ix Chapter One: Background of the Study .....................................................................................1 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Introduction ......................................................................................................................1 Background to Research ...................................................................................................2 Problem Statement ............................................................................................................3 Objectives .........................................................................................................................4 Research Questions...........................................................................................................4 Research Hypothesis.........................................................................................................4 Significance of The Study ................................................................................................5

1.7 Organisation of Study ..........................................................................................................5 Chapter Two: Theoretical Framework and Definition of Terms .............................................7 2.0 2.1 2.2 Introduction ......................................................................................................................7 Is There Any Difference Between ‘Conflict’ and ‘Dispute’?...........................................7 Land Conflict ..................................................................................................................10 Types of Land Conflicts ..........................................................................................10 Causes of Land Conflicts ........................................................................................11

2.2.1 2.2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5

Conflict Analysis ............................................................................................................14 Conflict Management .....................................................................................................17 Different Approaches of Dispute Resolution .................................................................19 Consensual ..............................................................................................................20 Consensual Approaches ..........................................................................................23 Further Characteristics of Dispute Resolution Processes ........................................25 Introduction .............................................................................................................27 Definition of Alternative Dispute Resolution .........................................................27 How Does ADR Mechanisms differ from Judicial Systems? .................................29 Why Use ADR in Land Dispute Resolution?..........................................................31

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2.5.1 2.5.2 2.5.3 2.6 2.6.1 2.6.2 2.6.3 2.6.4

The Concept of Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanisms .......................................27

2.6.5 2.7 2.7.1 2.7.2 2.7.3 2.7.4 2.8 2.8.1 2.8.2 2.9 2.10 2.11

Are These Mechanisms always Favourable? ..........................................................32 Essential Features of Customary Dispute Resolution System ................................34 Strengths And Limitations of The Customary Land Dispute Resolution System...36 Innovation in The Customary Justices System .......................................................38 Current Status and Relevance of the System ..........................................................38 Characteristics of Good Governance.......................................................................39 Why is Good Governance relevant io Dispute Resolution? ....................................41

The Concept of Customary Land Dispute Resolution ....................................................33

Applying Good Governance to Dispute Resolution .......................................................39

Records Keeping for Effective Dispute Resolution...

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