The Ministry of National Unity Reconciliation and Peace (MNURP) is working at empowering traditional leaders to disputes as one of its implementation strategy in its newly launched Peace Building Policy.
The ministry’s awareness team is currently in Malaita after completing its awareness in Honiara and will be touring every province.
Its director Reuben Lilo said one of the main implementation parts of the policy was to empower traditional leaders, civil society, youths and women to have capacity in decision making and non-violent strategies and conflict resolutions.
“By way of empowering these groups especially traditional leaders like chiefs they can able to handle and resolve traditional disputes like land cases which was the root causes of almost every problems we are having in the country,” Lilo said.
“We are also working closely with the provincial governments to ensure that they have an ordinance catering for empowering these groups,” he added.
“We will have the community body, (Civil Society) the council of chiefs and the house of chief which would be registered under the National Charitable Organisation.
Western Provincial Government has recently passed an ordinance on this.
He added that while working on this policy, MNURP is working on forming a committee to draft a bill that would cater for this.
“We will soon appoint a committee including legal personnel to draft a bill on this matter,” Lilo said.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Lands Stanly Wale said land issue in relation to peace building in the country is a cross cutting and an under lying issue that needs multi sectoral approach.
“Land issues, and peace building is a cross cutting issue that needs a multi-sectoral approach. MNURP is on the right track with its policy framework,” Wale said.
“Empowering of tradition leaders to address land issues is necessary to broker lasting peace in the country.
“We appreciate and working close with them to make it happen.”
In 0ctober 2012, Land reform Unit within the Ministry Justice and Legal Affairs came up with a Tribal Dispute Resolution Panel bill 2012.
The bill provides for panels of chiefs and leaders with a good knowledge of the customary law that exists in a particular area, to resolve disputes about land in that area.
It was proposed to replaces the current system comprising chiefs, local courts, customary lands appeal courts and the High Court with a single entity which makes a final and binding decision.
Limited appeals to the High Court are allowed by leave, only on the grounds of denial of natural justice or lack of jurisdiction.
By CHARLEY PIRINGI