Did Mugabe set a precedent for ICT management in Zimbabwe?

Did Mugabe set
a precedent?

For ICT management
in Zimbabwe.

Monday, Sep 16th

Settle .africa domain name struggle the African way – AfICTA chair

Settle .africa domain name struggle the African way – AfICTA chair.

Following a recent injunction by a US court to put the .africa domain on hold while a lawsuit proceeds, the chair of the Africa Information and Communication Technologies Alliance (AfICTA), a private sector-led alliance of ICT associations, multi-national corporations, companies, organisations and individuals in Africa, has expressed his support for an out-of-court settlement as an option to resolve the lingering matter.

"I think we should settle the dispute the African way," Jimson Olufuye stated via email. "The African way is for respectable elders on the continent to call the parties and through dialogue settle the matter out of court."

Judge Gary Klausner of the U.S. District Court in California on 13 April granted DotConnectAfrica DCA's request to order the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ICANN not to delegate the .africa top-level domain to the ZA Central Registry - DotConnect and ZACR were the only two applicants for operating the domain.

According to court documents, one of the relevant factors for granting the preliminary injunction is that public interest favours it. "The public interest analysis for the issuance of a preliminary injunction requires us to consider whether there exists some critical public interest that would be injured by the grant of preliminary relief," the documents state, adding that the public has an interest in the fair and transparent application process that grants gTLD rights.

Olufuye thinks the ongoing struggle leading to delays is not good for the continent. "We're missing a lot. In an era when there should be momentum in the DNS industry in Africa," he said, "we're bogged down by an avoidable dispute which does not add value to our reputation."

The consensus by regional ICT experts and other stakeholders is that having the .africa domain name would add brand value to the continent and would provide a single platform that connects products, businesses and individuals with interests in Africa into one online identity.

However, there doesn't seem to be an end in sight to the struggle over which organisation will control its administration and when the domain name will be available. DCA's granted request for a preliminary injunction bars ICANN from issuing the rights to .Africa until the case which is ongoing since 2013 is resolved.

Court documents show that the injunction will forestall DCA's losing "the opportunity to fairly have its application reviewed by ICANN" which will make it "suffer irreparable harm because .Africa can be delegated only once, and only by ICANN."

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