Series: Evaluating International Mediation Acceptance – Case of the Ongoing Anglophone Dispute in Cameroon (4)

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Part 4 of 5

It should be recalled that though the separatist movement is united towards liberating what they refer to as homeland otherwise known as Ambazonia, they are many internal threats. These internal threats can make it difficult to identify and accept credible leaders that will negotiate and secure the implementation of an agreement. Nevertheless, the regime is united and there are no internal threats to her war aims. In part 4 of this article, the characteristics of the mediator will be examined to appraise the eventual acceptance and success of a mediation.

Characteristics of the Mediator

The third criteria used to evaluate mediation success is the characteristics of the mediator, with a focus on variables like impartiality, leverage, and status. These characteristics are responsible for a mediator becoming accepted by disputing parties and in turn to the success of the mediation. Impartiality is more a matter of perception and mediator impartiality is crucial to the outcome of a mediation, though mediators’ acceptability is not reliant upon impartiality nor on trust in the mediation but instead on a mediator’s bias towards one of the parties. Leverage is used for mediation success by persuading conflicting parties to make concessions or for ensuring disputants to adhere to agreements though there is a contrast where analysts claim that lack of political power by mediator might facilitate rather than hinder the mediation success. Personal reputation, track records, special expertise of a mediator and his institutional and positional status also facilitates or hinders mediation. The higher the status, the greater the chances of success.[1]

The conflict in the Anglophone region has reached the point where there is no trust among Cameroonians on the two sides so there is an urgent need for a third party. Credible institutions and leaders within Africa have a stake in this and should take meaningful steps to salvage Cameroon from impending civil war and it is believed that the US can encourage this.[2] Tembon in his report in 2018 requested the US to call for international mediation to resolve the root causes of this territorial dispute and prevent further atrocities and genocide.[3] According to Campbell John, the US has a number of tools at its disposal to encourage talks.[4] In August 2018, the Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect in a Joint letter urged the UN to call for and support a mediated dialogue to the crisis in the Anglophone region of Cameroon.[5] On 7 October 2018, a Cameroonian son and daughter urged the government and Anglophone separatist leaders to urgently engage in a mediated dialogue to find peaceful ways of ending the conflict that has taken the lives of hundreds of their brothers and sisters. They also called on the UN, US, and France to continue offering to provide mediation support.[6]  

 It is alleged that the conflict was escalated by the separatist to win the heart and mind of the UN, UK and other international bodies and countries which are signatories to the Human Rights Declaration of 1948. Separatists did not call on France, the formal colonial master of “La Republique du Cameroun” to mediate because they thought France will be biased.  At the beginning of the crisis, separatist called for the UN and especially the UK’s intervention with the intuition that they will consider what they refer to as an error during the plebiscite of 1961 – either joining the Republic of Nigeria or the Republic of Cameroon without offering a third option of independence. The UN and the UK will therefore be biased, accepting the autonomy of the Southern Cameroons now. The USA, the UK, and the AU have some of the characteristics of a mediator which include impartiality, leverage, and status, and has offered to mediate but the government of Cameroon did not accept.

Any country or organization is yet to coerce the government of Cameroon for mediation acceptance though those that have offered to mediate have the leverage and the political power. Mediation cannot take place without the consent of the warring parties, and perhaps now, the international community respect the regime to handle the crisis in a professional way and bring it to an end without external intervention. So far, the regime is putting a lot of effort into addressing the issue by using military force to neutralize the Amba boys and equally addressing the poor governance which is affecting the entire republic via decentralization.

The next chapter is going to analyze the international context and how it is affecting the dynamics of the dispute and if it can lead to mediation acceptance and success. This part will also include the overall conclusion from the analysis, a look at ongoing conflicts around the globe, some resolution relevant insights, new options for a settlement, and lastly an outlook for the future.

[1] Understanding Success and Failure of International Mediation, Pdf on Egnyte, 370 – 373.

[2] United States Institute of Peace, Cameroon’s Anglophone Uprising: A Crisis Overlooked, United States Institute of Peace, October 4, 2018, (accessed January 27, 2019).

[3] Tembon, Crisis in the Republic of the Cameroon An Overview of the Anglophone Crisis,(2018).

[4] Campbell, Anglophone Crisis in Cameroon Was Decades in the Making, 2018.

[5] Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, Joint NGO Letter Calling for Mediation in Cameroon: Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, August 13, 2018, (accessed January 27, 2019).

[6] Nkongho A. Balla and Mbe M. Ngo, The Crisis in Cameroon Can Still Be Resolved Peacefully, Cameroon Al Jazeera, October 7, 2018, 2019, (accessed February 4, 2019).

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Stephen Akpe

    I wish to appreciate the article on the Anglophone conflict in Cameroon written by Babey. It resonates in the world of mediation the need for parties in conflict to be able to accept mediators on their own terms, people of credible personality and impartiality. Already, as many as half a million people have fled the Anglophone region, which could multiply the risk of a humanitarian crisis in a region beset by people fleeing Boko Haram insurgency in the north-eastern part of Nigeria. Cameroon does not need another imbalance. The sentencing of Julius Sisiku Ayuk Tabe has worsened the possibility of getting the separatist onto the negotiation table. The threat of violence is constant, obviously palpable. Both sides must explore a mutually beneficial process aimed at restoring a decent society. According to Dudley Weeks, a concession that is often advocated will not move the relationship better, what is needed is relationship building.

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