Dialogue or Negotiation without pre-condition is an illusion.
I am surprised some of our leaders strongly believe in and fall for that dialogue doctrine.
The “dialogue” in Yaounde has exposed us all. Those who attended from our side have actually put their integrity into questions. Rt Hon Dr. John Ngu Foncha was a million times better than the guys who went to Yaounde to cry and to beg (claiming they went to dialogue). Even though some of us were and are still against dialogue (at this stage) we argued and advised that if you were to go for ‘dialogue’, you MUST during your pre-talks, provide pre-conditions.
It is during pre-talks that you design and accept the modalities of the “dialogue”. If you are not satisfied with the modalities, then do not go in for the dialogue. Your refusal to participate in a dialogue that seems to have been organized to weaken your position is not a reflection of your unwillingness to participate in the dialogue. Unfortunately, our people think that if they provide conditions which are not accepted for acceptable by LRC, and our people fail to participate, then blames would be meted on our people. Yes. But it should not work like that as pragmatism and not popularity should be the defining undertone in such a delicate issue. As long as your reasons for rejection are legitimate, stick to your point and do not allow selfish people to define your behavior for you. Biya the perpetrator does not a car and why should bring down your reputation to please or satisfy the lust of a monster and his beneficiaries?
What we failed to notice is that while they were talking of no pre-conditions for us, they had their pre-conditions pack. Yaounde rejected the conditions coming from our camp. The Bishop’s letter had good pre-conditions that were ignored by Yaounde. Some participants said they will go and ask Yaounde for the imminent release of Mr. Julius Ayuktabe and co. That it should be discussed at the “dialogue”. And I wondered and asked prior to the dialogue: why can’t you make that a pre-condition for dialogue? And some people said, if you give that as a condition and you boycott the dialogue, you would be blamed for not attending. Only bad faith and ignorant blokes would blame you. On the other hand, you would be hailed by good faith and smart folks and you should be thinking about what the good ones (though a minority in their number) say and not what the majority (bandits) think.
While your pre-conditions were ignored, Yaounde had their pre-conditions imposed on our “reps”. No talks on “secession” and “federation” featured. Yaounde insisted that Decentralisation and Special Status for the NW and SW must be discussed. So, you had already declared the loser before the commencement of the game. What then were you doing in hell? Even the Men of God could not pour holy water in that hall to cleanse the bad spirit hovering the hall.
Did they discuss the release of Sisiku et al? I remember a prominent figure said they would want that to be discussed at the “dialogue” and I asked; why don’t you ask for their release before any dialogue? The reason being that you will not be given the opportunity to discuss that at the dialogue. Without pre-conditions, there is no guarantee that you can change the formulae of the equation on the table during dialogue/negotiation.
In a “dialogue’ where you have no powers, virtually no say, in a situation where your pre-conditions were refused and the pre-conditions of your rival were taken into considerations and where there is no clarity, participating in such a meeting is an endorsement of fraud to your own detriment and the confirmation of your absurdity, naivety, stupidity, ignorance and a demonstration of your lack of confidence. You have to be assertive and confident as a “negotiator”. Never you get into a negotiating room as a lame duck. That is how our people walked into that conference hall.
Comrades. It’s clear. The Fonchas and the Munas were better than those guys whose expenditures were catered by Etoudi. The Anglophones (bishops, teachers, lawyers, SDF, etc) should have met and discussed their respective points. This is a very simple approach known in strategic management as a divergent approach. After deliberations, they would then have to come up with a final document. That’s the convergent approach now. They would have to choose their own reps, hand the document (not documents) to their representatives (4-6 of them).
These representatives should have been the ones to do pre-talks with Yaounde. Until these reps are satisfied with their pre-talks, then can dialogue take place. Being satisfied means they are sure the conditions and modalities of the dialogue have been accepted by both parties. There must be a written agreement. In the USA Presidential debates, reps of the prospective presidential candidates meet with the TV hosts to discuss the modalities of the debate. They even have to agree on tiny things like the colour of the background, the colour of the light, who stands where who starts to talk first, which questions should be and should not be asked etc.
In Yaounde, our people went unorganized in different groups and despite seeing that federation and the release of Sisiku et co were not to be discussed, they stayed there, chopping and drinking in the hotel, while being ridiculed in the hall by their guests.
A similar mistake is being made in Geneva. No dialogue document where anyone can make reference to. In dialogue, when one party walks away, the dialogue ends. LRC is just playing with time. They have asked our people not to present any pre-conditions. And our people bought the idea. Negotiators must be tough. That’s how LRC is acting., By the way, must everyone go to Geneva? Why not select a few people, hand them a document and let them go and do the pre-talks for you people? This is not the right time to dwell on dialogue or negotiation. LRC is not willing to commit herself.
So what needs to be done?
Get a country to take our case to the UN for a debate between SC and LRC and or get a country to take our case to the ICJ. We have been singing this song for 2 years now and our people say dialogue is the best formula. If LRC can beat you in a play system you claim is your best bet, then you have directly told us that your strongest link is too weak to take us to Buea. And this is very troubling. When we get a sponsor and when we call LRC or LRC calls us for dialogue or negotiation, LRC would have their tail parked between their hind legs. LRC would be shivering like an unsheltered wet hen experiencing winter in Siberia while talking with us.
Now they are talking “to” us instead of talking “with” us. And they are doing so from a position of strength. Our people must wake up. As anti annexationists; we must remind the world that we are more interested in the immediate withdrawal of annexation forces and administrators from our territory. The issue here is more about annexation than separation. I would reiterate one more time. Sink the words; separatists, independentists, restorationists, and secessionists. Let’s insist and describe ourselves as “anti annexationists”.
We are interested in kicking out the illegal occupier of our land from our land. Period.