DotConnectAfrica has published a lengthy retort to DI’s recent post about the (probably) contested .africa gTLD, in which I accused DCA of being disconnected from reality.
According to DCA, DI’s post was “unprofessional, unwarranted, and sub judice to the ICANN evaluation process”, because it pointed out that Uniforum’s competing bid for .africa stands the best chance of being approved by ICANN.
Having read DCA’s response, I stand by what I wrote.
Geographic gTLDs are governed by special rules at ICANN. They need government support. Nobody disputes this.
In the case of .africa, which covers a lot of countries, support or non-objection from 60% of the relevant governments is required. I don’t think anyone is disputing this either.
Uniforum’s application has this March 2012 letter (pdf) from the African Union Commission, which provides the AUC’s explicit, unambiguous, exclusive support to Uniforum.
Uniforum also claims to have individual support from the required 60% of nations, though I have not seen documentary evidence of this.
DotConnectAfrica, on the other hand, has a August 2009 letter from AUC chair Jean Ping, which expresses support for the DCA application.
It is this 2009 letter that DCA is relying upon to pass the geographic support test in the ICANN evaluation process. In its latest blog post, DCA said, addressing DI:
If you state openly in your Blog that our 2009 endorsement that we got from the African Union Commission does not count, then you are obviously playing the same game that was started by our detractors who have been trying all along to deny and invalidate our hard-won endorsement in order to frustrate DCA’s chances of applying for DotAfrica. It is our sacred responsibility to make sure that our early-bird endorsement from the African Union Commission counts.
In response, all I can say is: “Good luck.”
The Uniforum letter of support, which is more recent by almost three years, states that it is “the only formal endorsement provided by the African Union and its member’s states with regard to dotAfrica.”
On the other hand, the DCA letter of support was “categorically” retracted by the African Union in this May 2011 communication.
The only possible interpretation of this, in my mind, is that Uniforum has African Union backing and that DCA does not.
Unless there’s some obscure nuance of African politics that I’ve failed to comprehend, I don’t think there’s a thing DCA can do to change that fact.
It sucks for DCA, but that’s the way it is.
As for DCA’s insinuations that DI’s position has somehow been bought, I’ll just say for the record that no opinion that has ever been expressed on DI has ever been paid for by a third party.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve probably turned down somewhere in the region of $20,000 from various parties who wanted me to give them favorable coverage in exchange for payment.
That’s just not how things work around here.