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Chiefs embrace village mediation services

Lilongwe, September 28, Mana: Some traditional leaders in the country have hailed the village mediation services under the Chilungamo – Access to Justice through Village Mediation and Paralegal Services Project saying it has relieved them by reducing their workload as minor issues are now being handled by the village mediators.

Paralegal Advisory Services Institute (PASI) has under this project trained over 3,000 village mediators who are spread in 12 districts across the country.

Senior Chief Maganga of Salima described village mediation as important and working very well in communities.

He said such services have helped in decongesting cells in both police and prison as minor issues as resolved at the community level.

“Building more prisons is not a very good idea but to decongest such facilities. There is a need to work hand in hand for the success of the project,” he said.

Group Village Headman (GVH) Mbondolo Nkhambule of Traditional Authority (TA) Kampingo Sibande in Mzimba said prior to the program chiefs were handling a lot of cases some of which, such as family matters, required privacy.

He said the coming in of village mediators has accorded communities such privacy.

A Paralegal (standing) in Nkhatabay explains their role in the jjustice system – Pic by Patricia Kapulula

“Small issues are now being handled by mediators and we are now responsible for cases such as those involving land and other related issues,” he said.

GVH Mwakhwala of TA Wasambo, Karonga said mediation is important as it is there to reconcile people.

He said a case that could have attracted fine ends with reconciliation hence allowing the communities to live in peace.

However, he said not all cases are referred for mediation but they are scrutinized first.

PASI National Director, Clifford Msiska said his organization has carefully trained village mediators who have been exposed to human rights and are aware of the phases of mediation.

Mana

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