After the talk and speculation about this subject in recent weeks, it was instructive to attend a presentation by an experienced expert on the subject of a referendum on Sunday 21st May 2023. The presentation was part of the nebulous Southern Cameroons Stakeholder Platform, SCSP’s campaign to promote collaboration for negotiation.
The expert, Henry Atem, for it was he, made a detailed, comprehensive and informative presentation on the mechanics and methods of referenda citing examples from the past.
He distinguished a referendum from a plebiscite or popular consultation, explaining that a referendum would usually rely on the laws of the “state” and be requested by the state, though it could be facilitated by the UN. The international community has never imposed one anywhere before. Furthermore, the international community cannot guarantee the outcome and usually only relies on the will of the belligerents. Plebiscites do not require the state’s laws but still do, in practice, rely on the will and motivation of the belligerents. The conclusion from this segment is that a referendum will not happen in Southern Cameroons unless La Republique du Cameroun requests one from the UN. The question then arises when would LRC be motivated to make such a request?
The next important concept was MHS – Mutually Harmful Stalemate to paraphrase(?). That is a situation where the opposing sides reach a stalemate of mutual hurt where neither can accept/bear their losses. That explains the apparent callousness of the international community as they usually calculate this stage in a conflict before deeming it is worth intervention. The logic is that that is when the belligerents are the most motivated to negotiate meaningfully to end the conflict as they are enduring unbearable losses. The question here is similar. Is the Ambazonian Liberation Struggle at its MHS?
When asked about the impact of the Ambazonian recent focus of referendum talk, Comrade Atem answered that ” The debate on a referendum could harm the Ambazonian Liberation Struggle by ‘consuming its oxygen'”. Though he would not be more explicit Ambazonia News deduced that the point was that a referendum would only happen after Ambazonia moved LRC to the MHS – and that is not by discussing the merits, undoubted though they are, of a referendum but by intensifying the actions that brought the tentative moves out of LRC to the point where talk if a referendum is fashionable.
The second in the sequence of debates is slated for 28/5/23 Ambazonia News understands. Can’t wait.
The Most High God be our Watchman.