Traditional and modern dispute resolution mechanisms: an analysis of the preferred method by the people of senior chief Ndubeni’s chiefdom.

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Moonga, Billy
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The University of Zambia
Traditional societies are those that are governed by customs and traditions of a particular group of people. The leadership structures of such societies consist of a chief or a king, and village headman and other local leaders. These are the people who take care of the day to day happenings in the chiefdom or village and they help to make sure that people live in harmony. Despite the presence of all these leaders, conflicts still occur among the people and this threatens the peace. The focus of this study was to investigate the occurrence of conflicts in senior chief Ndubeni’s chiefdom and establish what method of dispute resolution is preferred by the local people of this chiefdom between the modern or western dispute resolution mechanism and the indigenous or traditional dispute resolution mechanism. The study was undertaken in order to understand how conflicts are resolved between people in a traditional society, particularly senior chief Ndubeni’s chiefdom in Mpongwe district. The research process involved the collection of data through scheduled semistructured interview guides which were administered in person by the researcher in order to obtain primary data. The major findings of the study were that the local people of senior chief Ndubeni’s chiefdom prefer to use the indigenous method of dispute resolution to the western method. The two methods of dispute resolution, the traditional and the western, are available to the people of chief Ndubeni’s chiefdom but there is a perceived preference for the indigenous method due to its easy accessibility and affordability to the local people. The study found out that the common causes of conflicts among the people in the chiefdom include high consumption of alcohol especially by the younger members of the community. The reason why there is so much beer drinking is because of lack of access to education and the lack of recreational facilities to keep the young people engaged. It is therefore imperative that measures be put in place to address these issues which increase the likelihood of conflict by establishing recreational facilities such as soccer fields, basketball courts and other sporting facilities. Also, there is need to increase access to education for the young people so that they can be kept away from the abuse of substances such as alcohol. It is also necessary that measures be put in place to increase awareness among the local people on the importance of both the indigenous methods and the western methods of resolving conflicts.
Traditional courts--Conflict resolution. , Traditional conflicts.