home Domains, gTLD's Opposition to .Africa: DCA insists the AU Commission to Withdraw its Support for UNIFORUM, but impossible!

Opposition to .Africa: DCA insists the AU Commission to Withdraw its Support for UNIFORUM, but impossible!

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In what looks like the last letter that ICANN posted on its correspondence page from DotConnectAfrica, this letter of Opposition to .Africa was written to the African Union on June 2012, and addressed to Chief of Staff, H.E. Ambassador John Shinkaiye.The letter, also posted on DCA’s page states:

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We also request the African Union not to provide any support to UniForum that would enable it obtain any support(s) for its application from individual African country governments.
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Quoting its own previous press statement titled “African Union & UNIFORUM SA should beware of Wrongdoing over DotAfrica”,  DCA asserts that the application submitted by UniForum was already problematic for a variety of reasons. Some of the complaints detail the lack of due process saying :

“the process was fraught with irregularities and injustice, favoritism and conflict of interest, when critically examined from every angle, completely  falls short of the proper ethical standards of probity and accountability.”
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It’s also not clear how the organizations that form the base of the applicant really are structured.

Uniforum particularly has shown several inconsistencies owing to the origin of the people behind the Uniforum that arose from the formation of ARC, Dotafrica.org, and AFTLD all which failed to clinch a direct AU nomination to apply to ICANN.

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DotConnectAfrica had been given an endorsement in 2009, after which they ignited a Yes2doafrica campaign and successfully rallied Africa behind the project, only for the AU DotAfrica Task Force to lobby against DCA to rescind this endorsement and thereby resulting in the group Uniforum to get an appointment instead.

 

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DCA’s primary contention in this letter to the AU is that:

UniForum had not made any application on behalf of the African Community, in spite of ICANN’s written recommendations”.
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The ICANN Chair Dr. Crocker had advised in a letter dated 8th March 2012 to Elham Ibrahim, and the AUC There are also four formal processes that can be initiated by the public…among these is a community objection process, for cases where there exists substantial opposition to the gTLD application from a significant portion of the community to which the gTLD string may be explicitly or implicitly targeted.
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Therefore, DCA is claiming that  UniForum has not made a Community Top-Level Domain (TLD) application for .AFRICA, thereby betraying the original intentions under which the support and letter of appointment was granted to it by the AUC to apply on behalf of the African Community.
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The letter explains further that in the absence of a Community TLD application submitted to ICANN,  

any continued AU support to UniForum’s application for .AFRICA will be generally interpreted in many quarters as active connivance by the AU in a travesty” .
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This means that The African Union Commission cannot be seen to be supporting UniForum for an African Community TLD application for .AFRICA while in reality UniForum did not submit any Community TLD application for .AFRICA to ICANN.
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DotConnectAfrica warns therefore that, since the basis of support does (or should) no longer exist because of the duplicity of UniForum, the African Union Commission would be aiding and abetting partiality and injustice by continuing to provide any form of support to UniForum.
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DotConnectAfrica confirmed its cooperation to work with the AU by saying “DCA remains however strongly committed to serving its defined constituency and would like to reaffirm its commitment to collaborate and actively cooperate with important Pan-African agencies such as the African Union Commission (AUC) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and other stakeholders for the success of the project.”  and affirms the continued aspiration for DCA looking to work with all the stakeholders.
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AUC is not independent of  UNIFORM’s Bid: – The Big Problem!

The problem I see with AUC honoring DCA’s request is that AU is part and parcel of the Uniforum’s application.   From one of the public comments submitted by DCA, Uniform has given the legal rights of dotafrica to the AU in order to receive the endorsement.  So if ICANN allows this to happen, despite breaking its own rules, it would be like a free ride for the African Union to take over .africa.   This will also be unlikely since ICANN has already stated it will not violate the gTLD guidebook and demonstrated that during ICANN Dakar in the above letter from Crocker.
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Who should therefore make decision on .africa?

Despite that the AU is desperately trying to make the decision for .africa and be the voice for who should and should be heard in Africa,  I see it that ICANN should be the one making the decision on .africa to ascertain and uphold the principle of balance and competition.  It is obvious AU’s lack of independence is the good reason that they sat on this opposition letter, and to make matters worse, objected to the DCA’s bid.   This is what I call unbelievably contented!
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Negligence of due process is a continued challenge in our continent.

If one looks at the recent COI reported by DCA on the South African ICANN Board Director, Mike Silber who continues to volunteer to serve on the ICANN new gTLD  decision committee, and the way the  endorsement transaction was conducted at the AU,  I read this as a coalition of Uniforum who continued  to depend on people in high places to assist them fast track an illegitimate transactions for Africa on behalf of themselves rather than simply following the rules and guidelines for the ICANN gTLD process.  

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Brent Donald

This is my collection of some of the things I find interesting from art, design, internet culture, technology and advertising and scoops I get from colleagues and my searches. Internet technology is one of the best technologies that we have been afforded to utilize accordingly.

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