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[AfriNIC-rpd] Comments about AFPUB-2010-GEN-005

Dr Paulos Nyirenda paulos at
Tue Jan 4 12:44:29 UTC 2011

It seems clear from this discussion then that:

1. PDP-WG co-chairs do have to make important decisions in AFPUB-2010-GEN-005,

2. AFPUB-2010-GEN-005 does not create a "lead chair"

3. Conflicts among co-chairs are a real potential threat in AFPUB-2010-GEN-005 and in 
policy development in the AfriNIC region.

4. There is need to revise AFPUB-2010-GEN-005 to alleviate such conflicts.

5. Possible revision areas include creation of an odd number of co-chairs or creation of 
a lead chair in AFPUB-2010-GEN-005


Dr Paulos B Nyirenda
NIC.MW & .mw ccTLD

On 24 Dec 2010 at 3:23, sm+afrinic at wrote:

> Hi Walu,
> At 00:41 24-12-10, Walubengo J wrote:
> >my earlier undestanding behind the need to have 2chairs for the PDP 
> >was that they could act as "alternate" to avoid the occurence of "no 
> >chair" present as it happened in Afrinic-11 in Senegal.
> If we have one Chair and the person is not present at the meeting, 
> it's a problem.  Having two Chairs reduces the likelihood of that 
> happening.  According the PDP used for AfriNIC-11, there were three 
> members.  The three members were absent.  This has been addressed by 
> leaving it to the PDWG to select a Chair for the meeting.
> The selection of the Chairs is staggered to allow for continuity.  As 
> one of the Chairs is around for a year, he or she has followed the 
> discussions about the proposals and can provide input to the new Chair.
> There isn't an alternate; the Chairs have equal standing.  That is 
> why they are called co-Chairs.  It is good if the Chair with less 
> experience gets hands-on experience of the process.  The other Chair 
> can help out if the need arises.
> >However, during the last policy meeting in SA (Afrinic-13), it 
> >occured to me that BOTH Chairs are actually expected to be present 
> >and managing the Policy discussion - thus creating a real potential 
> >for deadlocks (as Dr. Paulos describes here).
> Both Chairs do not have to be present.  One of the Chairs is enough 
> to manage the policy discussions.  If one of the Chairs is the author 
> of a proposal under discussion, the other Chair can take over.
> Several proposals were discussed at the AfriNIC-13 Public Policy 
> Meeting.  Alan and I had a quick discussion during the ten minutes 
> break about how to proceed.  We decided on which proposal each of us 
> would handle.  It was more about coordination.  You may have noticed 
> that both Alan and I commented as individuals during the meeting.  We 
> spoke from the floor so that it was clear that we were not speaking 
> as Chairs then.  As our views are public, the community can assess 
> whether we were biased when we had to take a decision.
> If I had any strong concerns about a proposal, I would have left it 
> to Alan to take the decision.  It is up to the community to decide 
> whether either of the Chairs acted fairly.  If the community has an 
> concerns about that, they can take action against the Chair.
> It wasn't easy to make a determination of consensus on some of the 
> proposals.  It is sometimes a quick decision while we have to 
> identify and clarify the points of agreement and disagreement.  In 
> simple terms, it's not a vote about a proposal.
> Alan and I did not take a vote to come to a decision.  It was more 
> like "what do you think?" or "I think that everybody got to voice out 
> their views and we can make a determination on this one".  As far as 
> I recall, we did not disagree with each other.
> >One quick way to resolve the potential for deadlocks while 
> >simultaneously eliminating the potential for "absent chair" is to 
> >designate a "lead" Chair for each Policy meeting on a rotational 
> >basis. Since we have 2 policy meetings per year, and 2 chairs, the 
> >lead chair in a previous policy meeting becomes the secondary chair 
> >in the subsequent meeting and both act as Backup for each other i.e. 
> >in the event a lead chair cant make it for the meeting the secondary 
> >chair simply takes over. Also this means that the lead chair for 
> >that period/session has the final say - in the event of conflict or 
> >need to break a tie (within the Chairmanship).
> Having a lead chair to have a final say or using an odd number to 
> break a tie is only useful when decisions are taken through a 
> vote.  If two-thirds of the people in a group support a proposal and 
> one third of them object, it is difficult to say that there is 
> consensus.  If there isn't consensus between the Chairs, is it likely 
> that there is consensus in the group?
> My view is that the Chair is there to fulfill an administrative 
> function and not about who gets to be "lead" Chair.  I prefer if it 
> is the community that has the final say.  If you walk out of a 
> meeting with a sense that the same decision would have been reached 
> if any other person in the group was Chair, it means that the Chair 
> took the right decision.
> Regards,
> S. Moonesamy 
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