[Community-Discuss] [members-discuss] FW: For attention of the NRO and the boards of the respective RIR's

ALAIN AINA Alain.Aina at wacren.net
Wed Apr 25 08:21:13 UTC 2018

Dear Community,

Recent developments at AFRINIC involving board chair and staff has raised  general indignation in this community which as individuals, stood up to condemn and asked for the appropriate actions and measures be taken. As expected, we saw resistance and interpretation of laws, morals and behaviours. A resolution was proposed  to demand vote of no confidence on the whole board as board was seen as reluctant to invoke article 14.1(III) of the bylaws, which is the only mechanism to remove a board member.

Since then, former chair has resigned from the board, and folks think it was time to turn the page of the resolution and focus on the issues raised by the board and staff incident: 
- investigate and clarify responsibilities,
-  take actions against wrongdoers, 
- take actions in favour of the victims, 
- review board and management governance and practices to prevent this in the future and
- restore  good work ambiance at AFRINIC

Apparently this view was not shared by all. Some still want  the vote of no confidence and the board decision to not include the point on the agenda  for the AGMM, invoking  article 12.14(IX), created another turbulence in the air. 

Why should  we be selective in the application  of the bylaws or the company act ? is it not our  collective responsibility to respect and follow the bylaws which governs our operations? how long will it take for us to learn that laws and regulations apply to all and we shall constantly seek the best for the community and the organisation and not favour our personal and direct interests ? 

Have we forgotten that  bottom-up and community-driven were recently always challenged and opposed to Bylaws and company act ?

Before Tunis 2015 and following the Tunis incident, part of this community has been asking for a complete review of AFRINIC accountability after several years of operations and to adapt to  new developments and comply to current best practices. A major request is  to review AFRINIC legal status and  give power and mechanisms to members to recall board members.

AFRINIC accountability review : A long way, a structural problem to solve

Late 2015 board engaged in an accountability review…  a public summary of the review results  was published in may 2016.  https://www.afrinic.net/images/AFRINICRIRAccountabilityAssessment-PublicSummary-20160518.pdf 
In June 2016,  some propositions( in 12 points)  of amendments to the bylaws based on the review  were  submitted to the community for discussions by the board.  https://lists.afrinic.net/pipermail/community-discuss/attachments/20160610/86196c1f/attachment.pdf 

As  one can see, the point of giving power and mechanisms to members to recall board members was not taken into account. 

After some long but interesting discussions, other points including the recall of board members were added, making the total of proposed changes to 17 from  the 12 originally proposed by board.  https://lists.afrinic.net/pipermail/community-discuss/attachments/20161104/cc58b033/attachment.pdf

All suggestions for a consensual amendment of the bylaws as a whole were ignored  in favour of voting on 17  independent resolutions. Unsurprisingly  the results  are what we got. The resolution on board member recall was also rejected as was seen to target specific board members.

Afterwards, the community was told that the GC will be formed and one of its 1st priority will be another accountability review with focus on community requests which did not pass. Nothing has pop up since.

We have seen enough developments to  convince all  that the new accountability review is a must. Let create a favorable environment for it and the required amendments to proceedings implemented as soon as possible.

In the meantime, let us refocus. I call upon the board to show a clear plan for the  accountability review as well as for the reviews  and actions required  from the recent  board-staff incident.  

Board web page can tell those  were serving when this review and bylaws changes were conducted, same as  list archives available to tell how  things went or were managed. 

Hope this helps


> On 21 Apr 2018, at 19:51, Andrew Alston <Andrew.Alston at liquidtelecom.com> wrote:
> Forwarding this since it got moderated because of two many recipients
> From: Andrew Alston <Andrew.Alston at liquidtelecom.com <mailto:Andrew.Alston at liquidtelecom.com>>
> Date: Saturday, 21 April 2018 at 21:49
> To: "eb at ripe.net <mailto:eb at ripe.net>" <eb at ripe.net <mailto:eb at ripe.net>>
> Cc: AFRINIC Board of Directors' List <board at afrinic.net <mailto:board at afrinic.net>>, "paul at arin.net <mailto:paul at arin.net>" <paul at arin.net <mailto:paul at arin.net>>, "gaurab at lahai.com <mailto:gaurab at lahai.com>" <gaurab at lahai.com <mailto:gaurab at lahai.com>>, "exec-secretary at nro.net <mailto:exec-secretary at nro.net>" <exec-secretary at nro.net <mailto:exec-secretary at nro.net>>, "jcurran at arin.net <mailto:jcurran at arin.net>" <jcurran at arin.net <mailto:jcurran at arin.net>>, "comunicaciones at lacnic.net <mailto:comunicaciones at lacnic.net>" <comunicaciones at lacnic.net <mailto:comunicaciones at lacnic.net>>, Discussions of AFRINIC <community-discuss at afrinic.net <mailto:community-discuss at afrinic.net>>, "members-discuss at afrinic.net <mailto:members-discuss at afrinic.net>" <members-discuss at afrinic.net <mailto:members-discuss at afrinic.net>>, "board at arin.net <mailto:board at arin.net>" <board at arin.net <mailto:board at arin.net>>, "aaron at arin.net <mailto:aaron at arin.net>" <aaron at arin.net <mailto:aaron at arin.net>>, "german at nro.net <mailto:german at nro.net>" <german at nro.net <mailto:german at nro.net>>
> Subject: For attention of the NRO and the boards of the respective RIR's
> Attention:
> The RIPE Board,
> The ARIN Board,
> The APNIC Board,
> The LACNIC Board,
> The Number Resource Organisation
> CC: The AFRINIC Board of Directors
> The AFRINIC Community Discussion list
> The AFRINIC Members Discussion list
> Dear RIR Members and the Number Resource Organisation,
> I am writing this as an open letter to you – and I am copying the membership base and the community discussion list for AFRINIC so that they can choose to add their voices of support to what follows should they choose to do so.  
> In recent times, a full member of AFRINIC chose to table a vote of no confidence in the board of AFRINIC, to be heard at the upcoming AGMM meeting.  Now, irrespective of the reasons for the vote, it is my belief that any elected body should submit themselves to the will of the members and should a member choose to table such a vote, the board of an RIR should be willing to allow the vote to proceed – and to honor the outcome.  Failure to do this is a direct violation of the bottom up approach agreed to when an RIR is formed and agrees to the contents of ICP-2.
> It needs to also be stated – that the resolution of no confidence was not only acknowledged by the board of AFRINIC and in an email to the members on the 27th of March the board of AFRINIC had actually agreed to table said resolution.  The board then chose on the 18th of April to withdraw this and state without any reason that the vote would not be tabled.  In light of this, I feel this email is now more than justified.
> For many years the RIR system has had the bottom up approach as fundamental to its existence, in the belief that the ISP’s and users of address space should be the ones that are in control of the resources that are critical to their functioning.  For an RIR board to refuse to table a vote from a member wishing to test if the board still maintains the confidence of the community that elected it, makes a mockery of the entire system, and it goes to prove that at least in the African scenario, the members truly are without say and without any power in their own destiny. 
> I write this now to appeal to the NRO and the boards of the RIRs – to examine this situation and then – if possible – to find a way to show the AFRINIC board the error of its ways, and to stand for the openness, transparency and inclusivity that exemplifies our global community.  To stand for the bottom up approach which for so many years has been the cornerstone of the RIR system, and indeed the internet itself.
> It is not without reservation that I write this appeal, and it is a sad day, when myself, as a proud African, am turning to the rest of the world in such an appeal for help, but once we reach a situation where our elected representatives refuse to honor the precepts of the system, I see little recourse beyond this path.
> It is also well known that many of you will be in attendance at the AGMM where this vote was meant to be tabled – and as has been acknowledged there is even a meeting between the AFRINIC board and the board of RIPE NCC scheduled to occur during the course of this event.  I would say to the board of RIPE, and to the board members of the other RIR’s – please – be wary of lending legitimacy to a board that refuses to submit to a vote of no confidence by it’s members, because it is my opinion that by such a refusal, they themselves indicate they are not sure that they still hold the confidence of the member base.  I appeal to the boards of the other RIR’s to engage with the AFRINIC board only on the issue of preserving the bottom up approach and allowing the AFRINIC members to have a free and fair say.
> I believe in the bottom up approach, I believe in the right of members of an RIR to be heard, and to control their own destiny, and I believe that a violation of the bottom up approach threatens not just AFRINIC but the entire RIR system – and as such, I appeal to you once more – please – if there is anything that can be done to assist in this matter, help is now required – for the good of the Internet as a whole.
> Yours Sincerely
> Andrew Alston
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