A joint statement on the delegation and launch of the dotAfrica (.africa) gTLD has been issued but the ZA Central Registry (ZACR), the dotAfrica Steering Committee and the African Union Commission.
“As many of you are aware, there have been several new developments on the .AFRICA front over the past several weeks, indeed the past few hours. We would like to set the record straight for everyone’s benefit:
On 3 March 2016 the ICANN Board passed a resolution confirming that the DCA Trust (DCA) application for .AFRICA did not have sufficient government support as required by the Applicant Guidebook. As a result the DCA application has been rendered ineligible for further review or evaluation.
The ICANN Board then authorised the CEO and president to proceed with the delegation of .Africa to be operated by the ZACR pursuant to the Registry Agreement signed on 24 March 2014.
Information concerning the resolution can be found here: https://www.icann.org/resources/board-material/resolutions-2016-03-03-en#1.a.
This resolution constitutes an important milestone in the progress of the .Africa project and vindicates the longstanding position of the ZACR and the AUC that the application submitted by DCA was unwarranted and illegitimate.
Whilst we were very pleased with the board resolution, we knew that DCA was not going to allow the matter rest. During the weeks leading up to the board resolution we had already become aware of various attempts by DCA to further challenge and frustrate the delegation of .Africa to the ZACR using the US court system.
Contrary to their contractual waiver, DCA has now approached the US (California) courts for assistance, citing a number of unsubstantiated and spurious claims against ICANN, ZACR and the AUC. On 27 January 2016, a California court dismissed an attempt by DCA Trust to seek a temporary restraining order (TRO) against ICANN preventing the delegation of .Africa to the ZACR.
This has, however, not deterred DCA and they have persisted with their unlawful legal challenge against ICANN, including a desperate attempt to include ZACR in the US based proceedings. An overview of the legal proceedings, including ICANN’s application to have the matter dismissed can be found here: https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/dca-v-icann-2016-01-26-en.
A US district court is scheduled to hear arguments on DCA’s motion for a preliminary injunction on the 4th of April 2016. In an unwarranted, but unsurprising, move yesterday (4th March 2016) DCA obtained a temporary restraining order (TRO) against ICANN, preventing any delegation of .AFRICA until the 4th of April hearing date.
We would like to assure all concerned parties that we are doing everything within our ability to ensure that .Africa is launched for the benefit of the African and global Internet communities as soon as possible. In doing so, we will provide all reasonable assistance to ICANN, if required, to overcome these vexatious legal delays and challenges. We do not regard this matter as a challenge against any one individual organisation, but rather a challenge against the entire African community.”
The statement is signed by Lucky Masilela, CEO of ZACR, Moctar Yedally, senior director of the AUC, and Mohamed El Bashir, chair, dotAfrica Steering Committee.