Mediation between two farmers having a border dispute (Alternative Dispute Resolution)

R. Muko.
True stories of successful alternative dispute resolutions in the Abyei Community collected from AHRS in Sudan. Difficult environments such as Abyei in most cases have undeveloped justice systems hence the local structures (family, church, friends etc) do play a great role in conflict situations. A case of a land dispute is presented below.

Two farming neighbours Fadi and Adamo bordering each other were involved in land border dispute. According to Fadi, Adamo had encroached in to the side of Fadi as a result of his farming activities. Fadi in order to find a solution to the problem approached Adamo to discuss this issue. Adamo on his part was insistent that he had farmed on what was rightfully his farm.
Fadi and Adamo in time experienced a stalemate in their discussions. Fadi then decided to seek the assistance of Jose to help them sort out their stalemate. The first thing after listening to them, Jose advised them to pursue non-violent means to solving their issue. He then accompanied them to their farm and found that it was true that the border had truly been interfered with and it was not there.
Jose then asked Fadi “up to which point does your land extend?”
Fadi pointed to a place that was immediately disputed by Adamo. “That is inside my farm!” claimed Adamo.
Jose then asked Adamo the same question he also pointed saying “my farm extends from here to there”. Fadi on his part retorted “lier, your farm does not extend that far. You are trying to steal my farm! Please desist from pointing inside my farm.”
At this point Jose realized that that the issue was becoming very complex, as both disputants were claiming a right on what could have been rightfully someone else’s farm. At this point he decided to adjourn the meeting promising the two parties that he would communicate with them after he had consulted.
Jose decided to seek for advice from his church. It also happened that Fadi and Adamo were also congregants at this church. After deep consultations, he was advised to call both Fadi and Adamo. They obliged and narrated their stories infront of a church committee created to help them solve their dispute. The committee then chose a member of their church Nekesa to assist Jose in finding a solution to among Fadi and Adamo.
The two representative church committee members after this first sitting decided to visit the farm under dispute. They examined the two farms and truly found out that there was no clear demarcation. Both Fadi and Adamo were claiming that the other had encroached into his farm.
After some long discussion it became apparent that both Fadi and Adamo had planted sorghum but they separately had planted breeds of different colors. With this information in mind the two mediators Jose and Nekesa suggested that it was not possible to solve the dispute until the sorghum matures. This suggestion was agreed by the two disputants. After the sorghum had matured, the two disputants Fadi and Adamo approached their mediators Nekesa and Jose and converged to solve the border problem.
Nekesa told Jose “Hey Jose look here there is a mixture of red and yellow sorghum in this section of the land.”
“Yes, yes, I see and I think that the solution to our problem lies in this section.” Said Jose. Turning to the disputants he told them “This is the portion where the mixture of sorghums is. Having listened to your submissions, and according to our observations let us work on finding a solution.”
The two disputants Fadi and Adamo also agreed unanimously that the border was passing around that area. The four both the disputants and the mediators then determined the rightful border to the satisfaction of all. They erected beacons or clear marks to separate the two farms. They also took pictures, an agreement was then drafted and the disputing parties signed it. Fadi and Adamo signed it to signal their agreement while Jose and Nekesa signed it as witnesses. The agreement deed was made in four copies for the two disputants and also for the witnesses.


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