ICANN GAC Ignores Kenya’s Advice on DotConnectAfrica’s .africa application

Kenya said AU’s Process on .africa was not transparent and do not want to agree to any GAC advise on DotConnectAfrica’s application, however consensus was reached says the GAC report.  How?

ICANN concluded its 46th meeting held in Beijing China last week, some of the highlights of the meeting as per the announcements is that it was one of the largest meetings ever.

However aside from the normal attendance this was also set as a platform for the much awaited GAC advice on applications that were presented. This follows the GAC early warnings that GAC Members issued on November 20, 2012, and

applicants and GAC Members have been exchanging information with the aim of reaching an understanding or agreement on concerns raised, wherever possible. GAC had issued 242 early warnings to new gTLD applicants involving 145 strings.

GAC draft gTLD agenda for Beijing entailed advice to the ICANN Board on controversial or sensitive strings and applications.  However there has been a simmering fight as to how GAC wanted to present this advice.  One applicant who has been fighting for ICANN to waive the governmental support for perceived conflict of Interest by AU who is a principal partner of Uniforum a competitor to DotConnectAfrica.

AU has been seen as a big impediment to the application duly because of its involvement as an overseer, applicant and endorser.   This also is pegged on the fact that representatives have attempted on several occasion to disregard the guidebook in order to dislodge DotConnectAfrica even before evaluation is complete.

Despite the note sent by Kenya’s GAC Advisor on not agreeing to GAC advice, according to the final ICANN Communiqué,

The GAC Advises The ICANN Board that:

i. The GAC has reached consensus on GAC Objection Advice according to Module 3.1 part I of the Applicant Guidebook  The application for .africa (Application number 1–‐1165–‐42560) and  the application for .gcc (application number: 1–‐1936–‐2101)

This consensus though is in total disregards of the proposal by the Kenya GAC representative Mr. Katundu who had advised that the Africa Union was both an “endorser and a co-applicant” and this was against the rules as a conflict of interest.

DotConnectAfrica in an “email communique” sent to ICANN CEO regarding the actions of Ms. Alice Munyua who has already been replaced as the GAC advisor representing Kenya by Mr. Sammy Buruchara few month ago, the letter copied to several other ICANN officials reads in entirety as:

Subject: URGENT Attention: GAC and .africa issue discussed yesterday

10 April 2013
Dear Mr. Chehade,

I hope this email finds you well.

It has come to our attention that the .africa application submitted by DotConnectAfrica was a subject of lengthy discussion at the GAC meeting today by Ms. Alice Munyua, a person who we are informed is not a GAC Representative of a Country.

Kindly note we are also aware of her replacement by Mr. Sammy Buruchara as Kenya GAC Advisor to ICANN. Therefore, we are perturbed that Ms. Munyua could go on discussing issues in ICANN as GAC member.

We expect Ms. Munyua to immediately cease from her posturing as an official member of ICANN GAC and discussing any .africa matter at this capacity.

This follows an earlier email sent to GAC Chair and copied to ICANN officials to request GAC not to follow what was being presented as a position by Ms. Munyua by Mr. Buruchara the current GAC advisor seconded by Kenya Government who did not manage to attend the Beijing meeting in his new capacity, and his letter reads:

Dear Heather,

As the newly appointed Kenyan Government advisor to the GAC, I wish to inform you that I was not able to attend the Beijing meeting due to an unforeseen personal circumstance.

It has come to  my attention that Alice Munyua has introduced herself as the Kenya’s gov representative to the GAC.

This is inform you that Kenya does not stand by what Alice states in the GAC since she ceased to be the Kenyan Government advisor for GAC on the day of my appointment.

Further, should the situation arise, Kenya does not wish to have a GAC advise on DotConnect Africa Application for .africa delegation.

 
Kenya however has remained on a neutral point saying that they would not object DotConnectAfrica as has been widely reported by the Uniforum, it cannot also be forgotten that Kenya is also a host should the registry be set-up in the country and the Ministry has provided a formal endorsement to DotConnectAfrica’s application to .africa.

It has been observed at various forums that Alice from Kenya have been seen as misrepresenting the Kenyan government by giving untrue reports about the government’s position.   It has also been reported that Alice Munyua who no longer represents GAC from Kenya has continued to misrepresent information on behalf of Kenyan Government and seem to be still representing herself as GAC member and has a lengthy discussions over .africa at GAC Beijing meeting.  Several officials from Kenya are alleged have been circulating a flurry of emails questioning the new GAC advisor’s appointment.   This is mainly due to the fact that their support has been to DotConnectAfrica’s competitor and saw this as a threat to their lobbying status.

DotConnectAfrica appear to have taken a position to fight its way through the application and have highlighted pertinent matters that question the ability of its competition to rally and lobby for its application to be thrown out, without following the due process. We wait to see how the process goes down.

It should be expected that Ms. Munyua to immediately cease from her posturing as an official member of ICANN GAC.

 

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