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[AFRINIC-rpd] New Policy Proposal: Inter RIR IPv4 Address Transfers (AFPUB-2013-V4-001-DRAFT-01)

Adiel Akplogan adiel at
Wed Jan 16 09:07:32 UTC 2013

Hello Andrew,

Se my answer to some of your questions below. I stand by my previous mails 
and believe that you are trying mixing many unrelated things together.

On 2013-01-16, at 03:25 AM, Andrew Alston <alston.networks at> wrote:
> I write this email was some trepidation, but there are things implied in
> your mail to this list that I feel I have no option but to respond to.
> You imply that the I attempt to solve problems through the PDP list, that is
> actually accurate, where I believe that AfriNIC allocation policies are
> failing on a holistic level far beyond one or two individual applications.
> Let us look for a second at the policies I have discussed on this list.
> There was a policy put forward in Tanzania about the distribution of address
> space, which I withdrew after opposition from the floor, that was completely
> unassociated with any application.
> There was a policy proposal muted on the list with regards to the
> classification of higher education institutes as end users instead of LIR's.
> The reason this was never put to formal policy, was because the community
> indicated on this list that that was the assumed and de-facto position and
> that such a policy was not necessary because of the de-facto position.  I
> still have my doubts about this, since AfriNIC did attempt to classify
> universities as LIR's, and if such a de-facto position existed, this would
> not have happened, but the community spoke, so I listened.
> The other policy proposal currently under discussion of which I am co-author
> concerns the allocation of space to Higher Education again, and sets
> specific ratios.  I stand by this as well, as I do believe that the needs of
> higher education, who are the traditional sources for innovation and the
> parents of the Internet as we know it today justify such a policy and the
> removal of subjective evaluation of requests and complex red tape.

All the above does not remove or erode my impression. You try to solve 
operational issues with resource policy. What make me jump into the discussion 
is that you are defending a policy to allow resources to be transferred out of 
the region by insinuating that the policy has its merit because AFRINIC fail 
to distribute what it has in the region mainly because of the quality of its 
services (not because of the policy the community has set for it to do its job). 
That I will not accept until you become more specific and look at Africa and not 
South Africa only. As I mentioned to you I do not dispute (and in fact can't) 
the merit of any of your policy proposals nor can I prevent you to propose as 
many as possible (it is good for the vitality of the mailing list). But I still 
believe that not all your issue are NRM policy related. 

> Beyond that, I challenge you to show me where else I have attempted to use
> this process in any other way.
> We have discussed many times the statements about concurrency of usage that
> were made to me, and as you rightly point out, I have brought up this
> position multiple times on the list.  Why?  AfriNIC has yet to justify to me
> why in the process of three completely separate applications for three
> different institutions, the goal posts and the amount of documentation for
> each increased each time over a period of less than 4 months.  The only
> explanation I was given was on the concurrency argument which did not exist
> in the first two applications.  There is inconsistency and subjectivity
> being applied here.

Well you agree that each applications were not the same so each of them deserve 
own evaluation. The requirements increase for each of them? Yes it did because 
if you put your self a second in the position of a Hostmaster who is seeing the 
same person suddenly coming for huge allocation requests one after another and 
when asked for justification say thing like "No university keep track of these" 
"the papers you are asking are no were to be found because  people did not keep 
them", "these request are silly" etc … it raise their eyebrow and they become 
more strict for subsequents allocations to make sure that it is not a way of 
hoarding resources (when everyone is talking about exhaustion). So I see no 
problem whatsoever in having to provide different information for a set of request 
coming from the same person for sudden ned high amount of IP addresses. You know 
we have a NoNAT program through which we have helped big Operators to get huge 
allocations the process was smother and faster than with you because they took time 
to listen and understand what we are requesting they do not act as if the know the 
job better than those who are doing it. I'm not saying that problem and 
misinterpretation does not occur but we are here to identify and fix them. I will 
elaborate more on the below answering your other questions.

> You have also said to me that I believe there are problems with AfriNIC that
> I am overstating, and I will say,  I have not attempted, and will not
> attempt, to address these issues via policy.  However, I have raised some of
> these issues on this list since AfriNIC does not provide another forum for
> discussion of such issues which is taken into consideration.  

Not true. This issue has been raised already on this list and I answer and also 
asked a question. There is indeed a list call service at which is well 
advertised on our web site where services related issue can be discussed openly. 
We also have a members-discuss@ mailing list.

In my previous mail I asked the list if needed we can create another list such as 
talk at for everything else that does not fail anywhere. I got no r
response whatsoever and see no traffic on the already existing lists. So don't say 
there is no other forum to address your issues. 

> At the AfriNIC
> meetings after the board feeds back to the community, we have what, an hour
> to actually be heard from the floor. Considering the number of people in the
> room each time, and considering these meetings only take place once every 6
> months, this is hardly adequate, leaving this list as the only forum to
> discuss issues that are extremely relevant.

I challenge you tell me during which AFRINIC meeting questions from the floor 
or the remote participants after Board Update or Activity Update have been shut 
down. It never happened. We barely have 10 questions (and many time none). There 
again you are wrong. The records are there. The opportunity is there and has 
never been closed. I personally request every time at our meeting that we leave 
sufficient time for Q&A and never prevent questions on Services matters.

> We, as Africans, have a critical need for a strong and robust RIR that is
> beyond reproach and question from the rest of the world.  AfriNIC provides
> us a critical service.  

with you on this more than 100%.

> <snip> It was with the help of the Internet
> that the Arab Spring actually happened as one extreme example.  If resources
> that allow the internet on this continent to function are not adequately
> managed and allocated on a fair, equitable an non-subjective basis, we risk
> damaging the structure of the internet on this continent as a whole.  

Agree again with you. 

> Assuch, yes, I stand up and speak when I see things that I view as flaws in
> the current organization, because to stay silent when things aren't going
> right is to be complicit in what is going wrong.

Fully agree and we appreciate that.

> I have raised the issue of SLA's on this list earlier today, and I stand by
> that.  

I agree with the concept of accountability on the quality of service. And 
your suggestion is heard and we will look at it. Don't get me wrong the above 
statement doesn't mean we will just go and put an SLA in place. We are going to 
look at the issues and propose the best and efficient way to address them. You 
have also suggested some indicators to be published. I reply and commit to get 
them out for the community. Hold me personally accountable for that.

> I stand by the questions I have raised about the fact that AfriNIC's
> allocation process takes longer to allocate resources than other regions,
> which we remain one of the most expensive RIR's in the world.

You will be shocked to know that not only Andrew and its RSA Universities deal 
with us.  In more than 95% of delay cases that I have seen the problem is 
because members do not react or have issues getting the requested information. 
Sometime because they just do not understand the policy requirement or they 
are so small that they do not have dedicated resource to properly follow the 
request. However with the policy as it stand today we can not decide to go 
ahead an give resource if the need is not demonstrated and properly documented. 
We have seen many cases where it is that thorough evaluation and supporting 
justification request that allow to identify false and bad intentioned requests. 
That being said there is another 5% that we are right in focussing one to 
address. We are working on how to improve that and support these members more 
in helping them through out the process (thorough a teach an approve mechanism). 

> I stand by the questions I have raised both on this list and at meetings
> about why an organization that has 40 staff has so few people in a position
> to respond to allocation requests.  

AFRINIC do not have 40 staff (we are 32 and almost 50% join during the past 
12 months).

> You state in your mail that 43% of staff
> deal with allocations.  

43% of staff resources Deal with registration service in different aspects not 
direct allocations.

> If that is the case, why is it that in querying the
> status of applications I have been told on numerous occasions that people
> are either on leave, off sick or travelling.

Well that is some of the things that have changed. Before when someone is 
dealing with a member that person has to manage it to the end. So indeed if 
he fail sick during the process of course it impact the delays and I'm the 
first to say that it is bad and this is has been fixed being improved. 

> I stand by the questions as to the financial transparency of the
> organization, considering that the questions were raised in Tanzania and I
> do not believe have ever been adequately answered.

What was the question raised and which answer do you think was not adequate? 
In Dar I was for once seating in the audience as an observer and I think I can 
remember a lot of things that happened form the floor perspective. So I think 
you asked why the financial Report was not presented (the first time it happened 
in the life of AFRINIC), you were told that an overview was given during 
the Ag-CEO presentation, you and few insist in the fact that it was an AGM and 
you need to see the details, the Chair of the Board told you that there was not 
such requirement in the bylaws to make the members at large approve the Budget.
People in the audience raised an issue with that. The discussion was moved to 
this mailing list I gave some explanation and commit to work with the Board 
and the community to conduct another review of the Bylaws to address the 
concern raised. That was done. I remember people complain at the time about 
why the very first bylaws was changed … and I direct them to the process and 
how that changed has involved the community then. We have now been through a 
long process to review the bylaws which fortunately it at its end now as the
 board has approved the new one few days ago. How as organisation can we address 
that issue more sustainably than that going as fare are reviewing the core 
structure to ensure things like that never happened again? In addition to that 
the information you were requesting was published just the week after the 
meeting in Dar as it exist.

> I stand by the questions with regards to the Annual report due to this
> membership base.  

Are they not published?

> I realize that under the company bylaws, which were
> created as a result of Mauritian law, members of AfriNIC are not "full
> members", and such status only applies to board members, however, I stand by
> the fact that the membership on this continent which pays AfriNIC the money
> it uses to operate deserve full transparency.

Agree and it is with the help of the community that we can achieve the 
optimum transparency. At the same time you should bear in mind that 
maintaining a continuous high standard transparency had a financial cost. 
More we are growing and more you are requesting formality and structure 
more there will be cost associated to that.

> I stand by the fact that it is unacceptable for something as critical as an
> IXP to be waiting 3 months for more address space after they have run out,
> despite the fact that AfriNIC is directly involved in the creation of more
> IXPs.

You ahve full point. 

> I stand by the fact that it is unacceptable that a financial institution
> would choose to remain single homed rather than apply for provider
> independent address space because of fear of the complex process that
> AfriNIC subjects them to.

Well AFRINIC do not subject them to complex process but to adherence to 
policies and demonstrated Need that the community put in place. If they 
find it hard they come up with policy to change it and make it simpler. The 
community will assess them.

> I stand by the fact that I questioned the complete farce that was the
> election process in Gambia, and I stand by the fact that I objected in
> Gamiba to the unveiling of a secret ballot, which until there was mass
> protest from the floor was being permitted to go ahead by AfriNIC's legal
> counsel.

Well, my personal view is that verifying secret ballots is part of any 
respectable election process … and that is ballot are meant to be 
"anonymised". Our ballots has no name on them so they can be verified. Now 
you are talking about good governance? The Election/Nom com is independent 
and should be left to do their job and report back. Election is a whole 
full topic that it will be interesting to watch in Zambia when the work of 
the review working will be completed and the new process implemented.

> I stand by the fact that I object to NomCom attempting to shut down
> discussion from the floor ahead of the floor electing the very people who
> have to represent them to AfriNIC.
> I have not attempted to address ANY of these issues through policy, instead,
> I have raised the points and requested discussion, and I stand by those.

And discussion happened and action were taken to address them maybe not as 
faster as you expected but each time the discussion was raised there have 
been proposal on how to solve them.

> So yes, I am loud and outspoken, and yes, some would view that as
> disruptive, but I live my life by the philosophy that it is possible to
> bring about change through the use of one's ability to speak.  Speaking ones
> views in a public forum often results in arguments, hurt feelings, and
> bitterness.  That is because we cannot allow agree, and I do not ask for
> anyone on this list to actually agree with me, infact, I welcome and
> encourage anyone who disagrees with what I say to engage me and debate these
> things.  

I think we should all try to be like that. But don't forget cultural factor. 
Not everyone in this multi-cultural environment will view and handle 
controversial debates and discussion the same way. This is not particular to 
Africa only. 

> I am open to having my mind changed, as I have demonstrated through
> the withdrawl of both the Tanzanian policy and the EU/LIR policy.  However,
> I also believe as I stated in Tanzania, that this community to often sits
> silent while issues occur and are not addressed.  I cannot in good
> conscience do that.

Thanks and that is good for AFRINIC and the community.

> The fastest way to silence a critic is to address the issues, yet the
> subjective evaluation of space requests, the bizarre allocation times, the
> billing problems and the lack of transparency still persist.
> These my thoughts and my views, and  I believe I have now said enough on
> this issue, so while we continue to debate the policy proposal at hand, I
> will now let this rest unless the community has feedback and input to which
> I will respond, beyond that, I hope and pray that AfriNIC will provide this
> community more time and more space on the floor in Lusaka later this year to
> be heard, and that attempts to silence the voices of the community within
> that forum will not be repeated.

See you in Lusaka. I will not further comment these matters on this list unless 
I have information to share that are relevant to everyone.

Thanks again for you candid reaction.

- a.

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