One of the greatest obstacles we have in negotiating an emotionally charged conflict like the ongoing Anglophone crisis is our ability to focus on the process than the substance and above all, our ability to allow our offer to speak for itself.
The MND has come and gone with the situation on the ground worse than it was before.
The delegates were more concerned with the substance than the process. In a conflict, actors are supposed to focus on the process than the substance. This will help to guide declarations and will make them have a sense of direction before going in for the MND. All the delegates were focused on Federation, Decentralization or Confederation and Restoration but they failed to look at the various steps that will be taken if the government was to give federation, decentralization, confederation or independence.
They failed to ask how many days it will take for the resolution to be adopted if an agreement is reached. Do those coordinating the MND have the mandate to make or adopt such a resolution or will they need to consult someone who has the mandate to implement the resolutions? Above all, how many days, weeks, months, years will it take to implement the resolutions if we agree? Are we just going to give suggestions that will be directly implemented or will the suggestions be reviewed? These are the questions delegates had to put in their minds before going to Yaounde and this is what we call the process of negotiation.
Instead they were more concerned with the substance (Federation, Decentralization or Confederation and Restoration) that is why it was difficult for them to come out with the much awaited declaration which finally came with no explanation as to what the “Special Status ” is.
Another important issue that must be considered is that your offer should not speak for itself. Whenever you are negotiating and you have a resolution or offer, it should be backed by an explanation. This will help the other party to see that you actually gave into their demands. This mean that the committee members of the Decentralization were supposed to ask themselves what is this offer we want to suggest to the president?
What does it mean and what are the benefits if implemented? Will it solve the ongoing anglophone crisis? How long will it take to be implemented? Once they have the answers to these questions, they have to articulate them to the public so that the public can understand.