The influence of utilization of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms by leaders on sustainable conflict resolution in Bungoma county, Kenya
The purpose of this study was to assess the influence of utilization of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms by leaders on sustainable conflict resolution in Bungoma county, Kenya. The study focused on identifying the various types of conflicts in Lwandanyi,Webuye and Cheptais Sub-Counties and the factors influencing the adoption of Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanisms with specific focus on mediation,negotiation,conciliation and arbitration.The study explored the place of ADR in conflict resolution and the extent to which ADR is utilized by leaders.The sample size was comprised of grass root leaders Simple random sampling and stratified random sampling methods were used to pick the required sample size for the study from the targeted population. The required data was collected using two instruments.These were Questionaires and interview schedules The study found that leaders in Bungoma County appreciate and make use of ADR mechanisms in conflict resolution.Mediation and negotiation mechanisms were commonly cited as being used by leaders in addressing various forms of conflict. The study also found that land disputes are the commonest of all conflicts.This was attributed to historical land injustices especially in Mt. Elgon region where politicization of land allocations in the former white settler farms has led to long standing conflict between the Bukusu and the Sabaot communities.The study also revealed that most land disputes were arising due to lack of land ownership documents . Rampant corruption at the lands ministry was blamed for this state of affairs. The study also found that most land disputes were increasingly being addressed through alternative dispute resolution mechanisms and out of court settlements due to lengthy and costly litigation processes in the corridors of justice.However,capacity gaps in ADR operationalization were glaring.Most of the leaders interviewed in this study lacked technical capacity in ADR. The County and national governments were also found to have failed in laying down systems and structures for operationalization of ADR .Inorder to address land disputes emananting from lack of clear ownership of land ,the lands ministry needs to improve service delivery .Corruption perpetuated by officers at the lands office must be stopped.Land allocations in the former white settler areas of mt. Elgon should be delinked from politics as this is was cited to be the root cause of unrest.The national and County government must take decisive action to address the land grievances of the Sabaot community to stop the inter clan fighting .leaders must be trained and equipped with skills and competencies necessary for conflict resolution.