By Tatah Mentan, MAY 11, 2017
Experience has taught me that it’s difficult to arrive at a settlement if the mediator is too involved in the process – more so than the disputants themselves. Experience also taught me to trust my instincts at the crucial point when I felt there was a desire between both disputants to reach out to one another, despite the naturally entrenched positions put forth by disputants.
My experiences best explain why I regard mediation as a science and an art. Although many mediation skills may be taught, the development of a skilled mediator requires experience in dealing with people in all conditions and under all circumstances. Although there are many intangibles in the definition of a “good” mediator, certain character traits are invaluable. I wish to share bits and pieces from my notes on mediation right as far back as 1980 at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. These may prove useful to His Grace Samuel Kleda, when he is on another mediation effort since the one to Southern Cameroons this time around is a fiasco.
The mediator must be alert on several levels while mediating. He must concentrate on the information being provided by the source and be constantly evaluating the information for both value and veracity. Simultaneously, he must be alert not only to what the party says but also to how it is said and the accompanying body language to assess the party’s truthfulness, degree of cooperation, and current mood. He needs to know when to give the party a break and when to press the party harder. In addition, the Mediator constantly must be alert to his environment to ensure his personal security and that of the parties. His Grace Samuel Kleda failed the test by going around with murderers, arsonists, looters, rapists, and abductors as his buddies during his socalled “mediation.” Right from Buea, the cleric was in the comfortable arms of the partners in these crimes-Governor, Préfet, Sous Préfets, BIR, Army, Gendarmes, Police, etc. from La République du Cameroun (LRC hereunder). This comfort zone of the cleric tells the world how connected he is to the monstrously oppressive outfit of LRC carceral state.
Patience and Tact
The Mediator must have patience and tact in creating and maintaining rapport between himself and the contending parties, thereby enhancing the success of the process. Displaying impatience may:
- Encourage a difficult party to think that if he remains unresponsive for a little longer, the process will end.
- Cause one party to lose respect for the Mediator, thereby reducing the Mediator’s effectiveness.
In Mamfe, the prelate denied the existence of an Anglophone problem in Cameroon. The most obvious question becomes: why is the cleric therefore touring Southern Cameroons? Is it only for his cash from La République du Cameroun (LRC hereunder) as per diem? According to UN Resolution 1608 of April 21, 1961, there is no legal instrument exists binding Southern Cameroons and LRC together. The idea of Southern Cameroons signing a blank check (which some lackeys defend cannot be revoked) does not therefore arise. The current struggle, as Nfor Ngala Nfor would put it, is to restore the one and indivisible British Southern Cameroons that has been annexed and colonially occupied by the one and indivisible LRC.
According to UN GA Resolution 1541 (XV)–also passed in 1960–colonizing powers were instructed to allow for self-government in their colonies either through the creation of an independent state, autonomy under an existing independent state, or full integration with another state, according to the will of LRC population. Southern Cameroonians, therefore, have the legal right to separate from LRC as per the A.U Charter which permits the separation of countries and also the U.N. Resolution 1541 of 15th of December, 1960 since it is no longer the will of the people to remain in servitude under the screaming barbarism of LRC. If the prelate were armed with such historical facts he might have been spared the humiliation of going around like a chicken without a head thundering that the northerners are more marginalized than Anglophones. Apparently, he might not have been patient enough to digest his mission and hence was tactless in articulating it to his curious audience, most of whom understood the mission better than the messenger himself.
The mediator must provide a clear, accurate, and professional product and an accurate assessment of his capabilities. He must be able to clearly articulate complex situations and concepts. The mediator must also maintain credibility. He must present himself in a believable and consistent manner. From the get-go, the Etoudi errand boy or call him mediator made his stand very clear: One People, One Nation. He thus sounded as one regurgitating jail bird El Hadj Issa Tchiroma Bakary, the Joseph Goebbels or shameless propagandist of the Biya regime on patriotism and nationalism. To Tchiroma, Truth lies in deception and cover-ups. Period!
I may remind Mgr. Samuel Kleda here that the study of nationalism is seriously hampered by difficulties of terminology, conceptualization, and ideological inflection. Looseness of word-usage, such as using “nation” for both state or country and as a word to describe a group of people with some common features, constitutes a major difficulty, especially when historians accept the looseness uncritically and without analysis as it is the case in LRC. Sometimes “national” is used as a euphemism for the policy of protection of criminals, even by gangster regimes. The word can even, as in “national schools,” mean non-denominational. Hence, diction matters!
Objectivity and Self-control
The mediator must also be totally objective in evaluating the information obtained. The mediator must maintain an objective and dispassionate attitude regardless of the emotional reactions he may actually experience or simulate during a questioning session. Without objectivity, he may unconsciously distort the information acquired. He may also be unable to vary his questioning and approach techniques effectively. He must have exceptional self-control to avoid displays of genuine anger, rampant irritation, sympathy, or weariness that may cause him to lose the initiative during questioning but be able to fake any of these emotions as necessary. He must not become emotionally involved with the party. In Mamfe, His Grace Samuel Kleda declared that there was no Anglophone problem. What abysmal ignorance? What is his definition of the Anglophone problem? He sold his ignorance in the auction since he never bothered to read the memorandum of the Episcopal Province of Bamenda to his Almighty President Paul Biya. Here, we may simply remind the envoy of the Etoudi Almighty in the
words of John 8:32, to wit, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” It appears the cleric abandoned the truth and the truth will haunt him for life. Annoyingly, his partner in the self-humiliation jamboree, Mgr. Kome insensitively addressed his English-speaking audience in French, a language that irritatingly symbolizes cultural genocide and dehumanization to Southern Cameroonians.
A mediator must adapt to the many and varied personalities which he will encounter. He must also adapt to all types of locations, operational tempos, and operational environments. He should try to imagine himself in the party’s position. By being adaptable, he can smoothly shift his questioning and approach techniques according to the operational environment and the personality of the party aggrieved. Since he does not know that German Kamerun was extinct in 1919 and split into different territories under foreign administrations, he stuck lock stock and barrel to the fiction of reconstructing the defunct German Kamerun. With all biblical warnings: “Do not move an ancient boundary stone…” (Prov. 22: 23), League of Nations Art. 22,Trusteeship Agreement of 1946 signed by France and the UN, African Union Constitutive Act, Art.4(b) on the inviolability of boundaries inherited at independence, Mgr. Kleda failed to benefit from such battery of helpful knowledge to carry out his mediation bid. Thus, the Man of God became the Man of lawless Lucifer.
A tenacity of purpose can be the difference between a Mediator who is merely good and one who is superior. A mediator who becomes easily discouraged by opposition, noncooperation, or other difficulties will not aggressively pursue the matter to a successful conclusion or exploit leads to other valuable information. His Grace Samuel Kleda failed woefully because he wrongheadedly thought he could impose the Yaounde rogue state encyclicals of “one and indivisible” on Sothern Cameroonians.
Appearance and Demeanor
The Mediator’s personal appearance may greatly influence the conduct of any mediation and attitude of the party toward the Mediator. Usually an organized and professional appearance will favorably influence the party. If the Mediator’s manner reflects fairness, strength, and efficiency, the party may prove more cooperative and more receptive to questioning. In Bamenda, Hon. Paulinus Jua homed it to His Grace Samuel Kleda that wearing a cassock is no substitute for fairness, strength and efficiency in mediation. His claim to monopoly of patriotism and concern for children was debunked right there in the hall.
Achieving and maintaining initiative are essential to a successful questioning session just as the offensive is the key to success in military combat operations. The mediator must grasp the initiative and maintain it throughout all questioning phases. This does not mean he has to dominate the party physically; rather, it means that the mediator knows his requirements and continues to direct the collection toward those requirements. The
cleric bungled up and squandered all he could offer as his initiative since he believed he was sent by the Most High of LRC to impose that will on his Southern Cameroons vassals. Hence, his sacralization of temporal political symbols and political authority in LRC!
I know that the Church has always been in a struggle against the powers of the earth. In this struggle, the Church has encountered many obstacles. It has sometimes come in contact with powerful tyrants. But whilst it rebukes the tyrant, it never attempts to deny or destroy the supreme power of the State, which the tyrant has abused by perjury, oppression, violation of its duties, and villainies of many kinds. Unfortunately, the National Episcopal Council Letter signed by Mgr. Samuel Kleda on the 29th of April, 2017, does not show evidence that the Catholic Church in LRC has the guts to stand and look at Caesar in the face and claim a higher loyalty. Rather, the Church sacralizes temporal power. That is how the Church in LRC threw Mgr. Albert Ndongmo under the bus in 1970 and the prelate was hounded mercilessly by the forces of tyranny. I wish to remind the Church that it is the commencement of the second Psalm of the prophet DAVID: “Why have the Gentiles raged, and the people devised vain things. The kings of the earth stood up, and the princes met together against the Lord and against His Christ. Let us break their bones asunder, and let us cast away their yoke from us.” ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! THE TIME IS NOW! A bon entendeur!!!