DCA attended the recent AfriCANN meeting that was convened on Tuesday 25th October 2011 by the AU Task Force on DotAfrica to discuss proposals on DotAfrica and formulate a bid strategy on DotAfrica based on an agenda that they have already devised. DCA had honored the invitation out of respect, first to the conveners, and second, to use the opportunity to express its organizational objectives, and also express its opinion on the agenda that had been presented by the conveners of the AfriCANN meeting.
Therefore, DCA would like to reiterate its positions regarding DotAfrica for the record:
1) DCA intends to apply for the DotAfrica gTLD to ICANN based on the guidelines of the new gTLD programme that has been launched by ICANN.
2) DCA is willing to work with any party as long as such arrangements do not affect or prejudice DCA’s right to apply for DotAfrica under the ICANN new gTLD programme.
3) DCA remains committed to the ICANN process and will urge other prospective applicants to commit themselves fully to the ICANN global standard that is fair and transparent.
4) The African Internet Community should not be seen to be endorsing any prospective applicant. Moreover, there should be no back-room deals to decide who should do what – play what role, or be responsible for what regarding the DotAfrica gTLD.
5) DCA remains vehemently opposed to the proposal floated by the Moniseur Pierre Dandjinou for the formation of a new Consortium based on a new Request for Proposal (RFP) process. We believe that this proposal is entirely inappropriate and has not been approved by the African Internet Community, and is only being devised to give room to late entrants like the ARC who did not previously participate in the African Union EOI process to now participate in a new ‘Consortium’. It is no longer clear whose interests the AU DotAfrica Task Force is now championing – whether that of the AU, or the expected members of the new Consortium or the interest of ordinary Africans or their own selfish agenda. DCA therefore calls for the complete rejection of the idea of formation of a new Consortium as willful manipulation and interference that is being put in place to give the Cabal an opportunity to hijack DotAfrica through murky back-room deals.
6) DCA therefore condemns the unethical practice that is being openly displayed by members of the AU DotAfrica Task Force who are simply expected to provide professional advice to the AU but who have now confused and subverted their mandate by getting themselves involved in private negotiations regarding who should apply for, or who should not apply for the DotAfrica gTLD. DCA believes that such ‘working out deals’ for themselves and evaluating potential members of the Consortium creates room for corruption to thrive whilst they also engage in sabotaging the genuine aspirations of serious prospective applicants for the DotAfrica gTLD.
7) DCA remains mistrustful of ‘leaders’ of the African Internet Community/AU Task Force on DotAfrica because of their past adversarial posturing towards DCA, and the fact that their advice to the AU continues to create a problem – that has made DotAfrica highly controversial and contentious.
8) DCA does not believe that the ‘leaders’ of the African Internet Community/AU Task Force on DotAfrica have its best interests at heart – based on their past track record: sabotage of its endorsement with the AU, and with Corporate Council of Africa, and other organizations; and their open support for competing proposals from Dotafrica.org, AfTLD, and ARC. Therefore, DCA does not believe that the AU Task Force members would be fair and impartial in whatever they come up with.
9) The AU should only be an endorser of DotAfrica and should not own/lead the process as proposed/prescribed by the ‘leaders’ of the African Internet Community/AU Task Force on DotAfrica. Many people, including important government representatives, have now come to openly question the AU’s involvement in DotAfrica and believe that the AU should have nothing to do with DotAfrica if the initiative is to have any reasonable chance at succeeding. Other important stakeholders such as the CEO of AfriNIC have also rejected the AU’s involvement in DotAfrica who cited the fact that AfriNIC’s success to date is largely attributed to the lack of government or inter-governmental involvement in its structure and its affairs.
10) However, if the AU is interested in owning DotAfrica, and decides to apply directly for the DotAfrica new gTLD, then it should not receive any special treatment, but should apply based on the ICANN new gTLD guidelines as stipulated in the guidebook, and also provide the necessary endorsements from the various African countries as per ICANN requirements, but not based on Council of Ministers Resolutions or Resolutions of Heads of States and Governments. DCA believes that such resolutions adopted in the name of absentee African Ministers or Heads of States without proper consultations or consensus are not authentic and as such entirely unrepresentative and undemocratic, thus helping to mislead African publics and stakeholders.
11) DCA decries the inappropriate comparison of DotAfrica, a proposed new gTLD, to DotEU, which is a ccTLD, and believes that those who are making this comparison are simply doing so to justify their illegitimate activities regarding DotAfrica.
12) DCA reiterates its firm opposition to the plan to include DotAfrica, DotAfrique and DotAfrikia in the List of Reserved Names so as to make these strings unavailable during the new gTLD application process. DCA believes that this is an invidious plan that would make DotAfrica unavailable to other applicants simply based on a special legislative protection that will create an anti-competitive situation and unfairness. DCA further believes that this is against the stipulations of the gTLD Applicant’s Guidebook and the overall ICANN new gTLD programme.
13) DCA is of the opinion that the AU Task Force Members who do not speak for the AfrICANN Community should not take any further decisions on matters relating to who should apply or should not apply for the DotAfrica gTLD; or engage in any further discussions regarding the establishment of a Consortium that would apply for DotAfrica. DCA believes such an RFP process will be illegitimate since the AU Task Force Members have already overstepped their mandate and have now constituted themselves as a law unto themselves to either make or mar the DotAfrica gTLD process.
14) Finally, DCA believes that the members of the AU Task Force on DotAfrica are not sincerely devoted to serving the best interests of Africans or of the African Union Commission, since instead of devising plans to establish a Consortium that will give them secret control of the DotAfrica gTLD, they should actually be devoting time and genuine efforts to truly assisting the AU Commission to prepare and submit a legitimate bid to ICANN for DotAfrica based on the new gTLD guidelines.
Therefore, since many people did not come to Dakar and most delegations did not come to the meeting, there was a clear absence of a sizeable quorum and whatever is the outcome of the AfriCANN meeting is unrepresentative of the wishes and aspirations of the African Internet Community.
Finally, DCA hereby calls for the rejection of these unworkable proposals that have been selfishly contrived by the AU Task Force on DotAfrica to foster an illegitimate agenda for the benefit of a self-serving Cabal.
Further Read:Press Release: http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs053/1102516344150/archive/1108347659795.html
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