DotConnectAfrica’s objection application treatment at ICANN and the hands through which the application passed, makes for a very interesting governance case at ICANN. Owing to the highlighted conflict of interest cases in the past, its hard to determine how transparent and impartial it remained in determining the application’s destiny.
At ICANN Board Level:
Advice that was given indirectly to Africa Union by the Board Chair: “While ICANN is not able to offer the specific relief requested in the Communiqué, the robust protections built into the New gTLD Program afford the African Union (and its individual member states), through the Government Advisory Committee, the opportunity to raise concerns that an applicant is seen as potentially sensitive or problematic, or provide direct advice to the Board. In addition, the African Union (and its individual member states) can avail itself of any of the appropriate objection processes mentioned above in the event an application is received for any string – even those beyond representations of .Africa – that may raise concern” Read
At the GAC level, the Beijing Communique that provided a way forward on how the different strings were to be treated by ICANN going forward in the new gTLD Process, came under sharp criticism. There emerged questions as to how GAC arrived at some of the consensus decisions that were reported, one blog said:
“The GAC’s growing self-importance and isolation from the broader community of ICANN stakeholders is threatening to spiral out of control. The only way to stop it now is for the board to get a backbone and reject most of the GAC’s advice. It will provide what we in the educational profession call a “teachable moment” in which they can stand up for predictable due process. They will have support from the community. No less than 8 speakers in the public forum criticized the GAC communique. No one supported the GAC, unless you count a half-hearted plea from board member Mike Silber to recognize how hard the GAC had worked. This drew tepid applause from a smattering of the audience.”
At the Government Advisory Level
Alice Munyua, who served in dual positions, as GAC Vice Chair and Steering Committee (SteerCom) member of the UNIFORUM’s South Africa’s dotafrica project, has also been accused in her activities at GAC, thereby making the decisions in favor of Uniforum, directly jeopardizing DotConnetcAfrica’s application. The steering committee, according to the website,”has been established to provide leadership and oversight over both the application process and the launch of the dotAfrica TLD. “
It is also reported that Alice used a fraudulent position of VP GAC that has already expired and replaced by Mr. Sammy Buruchara the new GAC Rep from Kenya. During the GAC meeting in Beijing Alice used her influence to oppose DCA’s application, despite the voice of Kenya’s opposition and written memorandum to GAC, which resulted in a consensus advise on DCA’s application. Read more here