[Community-Discuss] Confusion...

Andrew Alston Andrew.Alston at liquidtelecom.com
Fri Jul 21 18:48:53 UTC 2017

Hi Alain,

This email makes a lot of accusations – and you’re free to do that – but – let’s work through each of them.  Before I do that though – I find it interesting – when people don’t want to address current issues – point at the past – attack the person – ignore the message.  See this is what has been going on in AfriNIC for years – we are not interested in the message - only in attacking the person to promote our own message – and this – is everything a community should not be.

But, since you raised these issues – let’s work through them for a second.

The a) was promising, full of energy, Mr Solution to everything, the anti-RPKI, etc….

My anti-RPKI stance continues – though it’s shifted slightly over the years – see – positions shift as we grow as people – if a person never has positions that shift – it shows the person has not grown, matured or anything else.  Happy to have an RPKI debate with you though any time any place ☺

* Promoted  AFRINIC governance as Top-Down

Please justify this – I invite you to examine the minutes during my tenue as board member – because I can point to numerous entries in those minutes which will refute this – but since you threw the accusation – please – substantiate it and let me rebut.  I will not rebut baseless accusations that are non-substantiated – because again – this is a habit on these lists – make an accusation and refuse to substantiate.  It generates loads of emails – and loads of hot air – but never little that is productive.

* Promoted Trust-only, no-accontabiliy and no-transparency

See above comment

* Company act evangelist

No idea what you mean by this

* Promoted AFRINIC as 8+1 people(registered members)  private company. Other members have limited powers, Community has none

Aaahh here you read me wrong – Promote it as such? No – state that legal reality that is the case? At times yes – because fact is fact – the community power is granted by the board – it is not legally entrenched – that is reality – and I don’t shy away from reality.  Obviously that is not always the case though.  I must however point to the fact that I was very much a part of the board that drafted 20 special resolutions, a large portion of which were designed to give this community back far more power than they have.  This community were the ones who turned around and voted down those resolutions and rejected that power.

* Opposed most of the community proposals to improve accountability during the last accountability review

I opposed the audit policy – damn straight I did – it was legally flawed and put the company in jeopardy, and the legal advisor confirmed everything that I had always said about that policy.  I opposed placing the government committee above the board – because legally that could not happen – you cannot have people who hold the fiduciary responsibility while others hold the power to force them to violate said responsibility – that won’t fly in any jurisdiction.  I opposed the soft landing BIS policy – because I believe that holding onto V4 assets is damaging to the continent since it does nothing to promote v6 deployment, deepens the digital divide and focuses the benefits to the ISP’s rather than the end users on the ground who need connectivity today.  What else did I oppose?  Please, substantiate your arguments, because baseless accusations aren’t worth anything.

* Supported  adopting changes  to bylaws for accountability review by vote on multiple resolutions instead of working out  a coherent consensual  draft bylaws.

Yes – I did support the adopting of changes to the bylaws for accountability review – because the accountability review was done after substantial review by external parties who had knowledge of the current bylaws and the legal framework.  You cannot adjust legal documents without that fundamental understanding of what they must align to.  And I point out – the majority of those bylaw changes handed power back to the community – this community chose to reject that power.  Let us look at the bylaws that were rejected, I will focus on the ones that actually handed power back to this community.

.           a.) SR3 – Which added the following paragraph: A Director whose tenure of office comes to an end, shall de facto cease to be a Registered Member and shall complete all the required formalities in compliance with the Act and/or the Bylaws to this effect.

Effectively this leaves any director who leaves office as a registered member with all the power of a registered member – and I’m shocked the community voted no to this – because by doing so – they announce that this is their will – effectively that a director never returns his shareholdings and continues with the same power – it is an extremely dangerous situation and is made infinitely more dangerous by the no vote – (37 votes for, 41 against, only 47.44% support)

b.) SR4 – The resolution that stated that every member of the board should act in the best interests of AFRINIC regardless of regional affiliation – voted down by the community – basically stating that directors do NOT have to act in the best interests of the company – but rather only their regions – again – a dangerous precedent to set (55 for, 21 against, failed by a small margin, but still failed)
c.) SR6 – Introduction of term limits for directors – something I have always said I believed in and still do – rejected by the community (35 for, 41 against, only supported by 46.05%)
d.) SR7 – Limit the number of directors that may work for the same organization – voted down and rejected by the community – despite loads of people screaming that it was necessary it only got 48.05% support (37 votes for to 40 against)
e.) SR11 – Remove the ability of the board to disapprove nominations for the board of directors – this directly took power from the directors – it only got 39.47% support (30 votes for, 46 against)
f.) SR16 – Give the community the power to recall a director – again – directly giving power to this community – it got 53.21% support – (58 for, 51 against)
g.) SR20 – Clarify the position on proxies to prevent proxy abuse – 42.86% support – (33 for, 44 against)

Looking at these numbers – it is farcical for this community to sit and scream about top down approach – about accountability of board members – about lack of transparency – unyet, in 7 instances above, they outright rejected the very things they claimed they wanted.

* Opposed Board member recall by members and community

Incorrect – On SR16 I actually voted in favor of it – every vote I had was cast in favor of SR16, where as I chose to abstain from several others – and the vote count as stated above, which you are free to verify, clearly demonstrates the extra votes in the mix.

* Claimed to have rescued AFRINIC

This is false – please review the video of my election speech in Kenya – where I specifically said – I was a part of a collective board that did that – need I point you to exact timing on the video?

* Authored some controversial policy proposals

Yes – I authored policy proposals – some of which were controversial – I make zero apologies for this – in the same way policies you have authored – and still have your name on them – are deeply controversial – if they weren’t they would have been ratified by now.

* etc..

And now, welcome c) who seem confused and lost:

  *Dealing  with simple community member position subject  to past board member's NDA and reserve obligations

The NDA reservations are very specific – I know what it says – do you?  I don’t need to “get around it”, I will not violate it – and I will operate within what it says.

  * Suffering from the Top-down  governance  enjoyed  during  b)

I am not suffering from top-down governance enjoyed during b.) – and in fact in many cases I fought against what you claim here – but I do plan to push for still more transparency than we have – though I stand by my stance that it has improved.

  *Want all the powers to members and even Community

False – because I know that is not possible – I understand the legal structure of AFRINIC – the power sits with the registered members – that is not disputable – and I don’t believe it can ever change.  What I want is adherence to the NCCG and adherence to section 3 of the bylaws and the companies act – and I challenge you to show an instance where I fought against any of those things.

 * Want 300% transparency

Correct – I do – and I make no apologies for it

  *Want 400% accountability

Again – correct – I want accountability – and I was prepared to submit myself to being accountable as well.  I point to when this community demanded a hearing for me – which I agreed to – and which was conducted – despite there being zero evidence – and a unanimous vote as per the minutes that I was innocent of the baseless accusations against me.

  * Want PDP appeal procedure put in place

Again – 100% I do – because the PDP that was authored by a current board member mandates that it should exist – and I openly admit that it was an oversight of mine that I didn’t pick it up when I was on the board – had I seen it – I would have insisted on it.

  * Want a ASO members recall  procedure

Again – 100% I do – and I stand by that – because it is mandated by an MOU which was signed by the company.

  * Want Mgmt audits published.

Again – 100% I want that published – and unfortunately – the board has opted not to publish the documents which would better explain this stance – never mind the actual audit reports themselves.  So – I make no apologies here.

  * Describe the rescued AFRINIC as the financially weakest RIR

Again – that is 100% true – I did – because it is objective fact – and I am not an ostrich – I do not live with my head in the sand and I believe that we have to live within our means – not in a dream world that ends up back in the position we were in where we were flirting with outright bankruptcy – as is clearly indicated in the financials which shows that a.) we had zero reserve b.) we were hemorrhaging money and making large scale losses.

  * Concerned  by the membership fees compared to RIPE NCC

Again – 100% true – and again – I stand by that – for sound business reason.  When companies make decisions as to vendors or suppliers (which is what AFRINIC is), they will buy from where they get value.  When fees are 20 times the fees charged by another RIR and the RIR charging 20 times the fees is not adding any additional benefit beyond their competition – there is a problem – and it may well explain the large number of north African RIR’s who are registering with RIPE even though they get such a limited amount of space.  Please go and look at the RIPE database on the number of Tunisian organisations who are getting their space not from AFRINIC but from RIPE.  This I attribute to the price differential – which I argue ends up hurting AFRINIC.

So finally alain, I am confused – I am confused by the baseless accusations with zero substantiation – I am confused that when the community wanted INDIVIDUALS gone – they chose to attack specific areas – but when those individuals went – the attacks on the AREAS disappeared – which proves that they were targeting individuals and not good corporate governance and not solid financial management and not transparency.  I am confused that the community demanded that power be put in their hands – and when it was offered on a platter turned and rejected it.  I am confused at a community where a segment of the community chose to up and walk out of the room when election results did not go their way for multiple successive elections – and the video footage will stand testament to what I am saying.  I am confused at a community that sends people to the microphone with scraps of papers to state positions – but when the same people who stand with those scraps of paper are called back to the microphone and questioned on their statements – it becomes clear that they did not write what was on those scraps of paper nor did they fully understand what they were saying – they were messengers – and the message fell apart when questioned (Please see Pointe Noir video footage for clear evidence of this, and again in Botswana).

Yes – There is much that confuses me – but I have always managed – and will continue to do so.


On 12 Jul 2017, at 06:40, Andrew Alston <Andrew.Alston at liquidtelecom.com<mailto:Andrew.Alston at liquidtelecom.com>> wrote:

I realized after it was pointed out that this had not gone to the list - so re-sending


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From: Andrew Alston <andrew.alston at liquidtelecom.com<mailto:andrew.alston at liquidtelecom.com>>
Sent: Wednesday, July 12, 2017 08:08
Subject: Re: [Community-Discuss] Confusion...
To: Sander Steffann <sander at steffann.nl<mailto:sander at steffann.nl>>, Marcus K. G. Adomey <madomey at hotmail.com<mailto:madomey at hotmail.com>>

Markus -

You say that I am in a different orbit - so let me state what orbit I am in -

I want total transparency - both on governance and financial issues
I want to know how the money we as members is being spent and that it is well spent and justified - particularly considering that for large members the fees as in excess of 20 times the costs paid by RIPE members
I want to be assured if our elected representatives are traveling on our dime - that the travel is justified and in the benefits of the members the organization is meant to serve
I want to be assured that the board and the executive are at all times adhearing to the bylaws which we, as members, approved
I want to be assured that the company operates to the letter of the law and to be assured that the actions they take do not create legal risk which may threaten the organization
I want to ensure that the policies of the organization actually contribute to the growth of internet penetration on the continent, and do not merely serve to protect isps, but actually serve the general population of our continent.
I want to ensure that the company is delivering on its mandate as clearly defined in section 3 of the bylaws.

That my friend - is my orbit - so - if we are in different orbits - please - tell me yours and how it conflicts with the above - explain it to me - after all - do we not operate on a principal that dialog solves problems and builds consensus?


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