Friday, December 08, 2006

transvestites vs good hotel

coming to Brasil was to make sure i come out with an experience at the gay pub or street or whateve.
leaving on friday meant that i could go only on thursaday and witness the night life in SP.
Am not so much of a party animal and was wondering how i was going to rush through the nite.
but when we visited Beth, she invited us to dinner on thursday and i was torn in between.
Beth is a gracious lady and probably what i want to be when i grow up. Intelligent, she cheks her diet, dresses well and is ever elegant.
Lidia, he daughter, takes after her. Impressive!!

so i decided to go out to dinner and guess what, the best hotel in town.... nice food...tasty.
i would not however recommend it to my brother who thinks food is all about quantity not quality.

this hotel, i cant even remeber its name but its got a high ceiling making the room airly and the ambience perfect.

so, i enjoyed good food and good company, cant imagine hanging out at the gay pub and missing such an important dinner!!!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

claudia and becky

courtesy of Claudia, i enjoyed nice brazilian dish of pork, bacon and black beans, what in kikuyu we call `wairimu beans` rice and sukuma wiki though they have a local name for the sukuma.
the food was fantastic!!!

corinthians neighbourhood

SP is a football rich city, with current brazil champions Sao Paulo, Pele´s former club santos and now corinthians. in deed today, Ze Roberto (bayern Munich) was on TV donating stuff at Santos, i did not know the guy is a preacher too......
i remember Roberto Carlos was quoted saying that if he retires from Madrid, he can only play for santos.....

Corinthians FC

am not sure the stadium is well visible but thats where Edu, formerly of Arsenal now with Valencia, was playing. He was `discovered`by wenger in one of his many trips just like he found George Weah, Kolo Toure, Eboue and the like.

beth, steve and lidia

by the time steve left SP 25 years ago, lidia was a toddler...... now shes married!!!

beth, becky and lidia

i was happy to meet Beth and Lidia, from their office, i had a nice view of the Corinthians football club stadium

Steve was excited to meet the gal, playboy gal. the men on the streets were amused to see me take the pix. am sure they knew we are africans and there is no playboy here. atleast not in kenya.

at Avenue Paulista. One of the famous places. Thats where most of that banks are.


By Rebecca Wanjiku,

When Peter Ulanga was invited to visit Brazil, last year, he knew that something was going to change in the management of dot Tz country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD).

Ulanga, and a colleague, Peter Shilla, benefited from training offered by the Brazilian government on management of domain name registries using open source software.

Within two years of the training, Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority is ready to launch the dot Tz ccTLD registry. The domain has been administered by the University of Dar es Salaam and individuals.

`The training worked well, we have bought necessary equipment and we are ready to launch Tanzania Network Information Centre, TzNIC,` said Ulanga.

Ulanga says that the training was useful and the tests were successful. He added that it will now be easier to register domains and if there are any problems, then there is a central point to channel complaints.
Tanzania benefitted from the south/south solidarity spearheaded by the South American power house. Kenya was the first to train on how to use the software, Tanzania soon followed suit, while Mozambique and Sudan are lining up for the services.
The gesture by the Brazilian government was calculated to ensure that Africa can access the less costly open source software solutions and transform African registries from manual to automation.
At the on-going Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers(ICANN) conference, in Sao Paulo, renowned Brazilian Professor Hartmut Glaser could not hide his joy while confirming that he had been invited by the Tanzanian government to witness the fruits of his government´s generosity.
Apart from the training, Brazil offered technical assistance to the recipient countries in case of any problems with the software or even any technical hitches in their operations.
The drive to foster south/south cooperation started in 2002 when Brazil sent engineers to Togo to train local counterparts from more than 20 countries gathered in Lome.

Ann Rachel and Peter Ulanga from Niger and Tanzania respectively. Rachel was instrumental in AFriNIC formation. she is my big sister

Finding Unity in Diversity

By Rebecca Wanjiku
African participants at Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers(ICANN) meeting in Sao Paulo have formed a unified body that with articulate issues from participants drawn from various sectors.

Africa Regional At Large Organisation (AFRALO) will unite users wishing to articulate their issues to ICANN. AFRALO is expected to link Africa to the global At Large Organisation within ICANN.

Alice Munyua, a member of ICANN´s At Large Organisation says AFRALO will help Africa identify their peculiar issues and call attention to the global body.

¨Through the regional body, African users can identify their challenges and design ways to deal with them. For instance, if the fibre optic cable is laid, then more people can access the internet and then we can deal with other problems other than access,¨said Munyua.

With the growing mobile telephony and cutting edge technology that provides internet via mobile, Munyua says AFRALO will ensure that African voices are heard.

Though not officially launched, preparations of a Memorandum of Understanding are in top gear.

AFRALO is expected to face challenges of language and culture, multiplicity and diversity of digital challenges. Some countries are deemed to have developed ICT infrastructure while others have not.

Munyua expects all countries to meet and point out issues that affect all sectors and the changes they would like to see. The country representatives/ liasons will forward to AFRALO which will then link with the global body.

She recognises that it will be hard to reach consensus because of the diverse interests but she promises AFRALO will work hard to adequately represent african users.
Latin America and the Caribbean have already formed LAC-RALO ( Latin America and the Caribbean Regional At-Large Organisation) which is expected to maximize participation of user groups from the region
Paul Twomey ICANN president, told delegates during the opening ceremony that LAC-RALO will be the third Latin American organisation to help ICANN in its work. The other two are LACTLD (Regional ccTLD managers) and LACNIC (Regional Internet Registry for Latin America ).

in mar del plata, argentina

celebrating AFriNIC launch at the coastal city. Team Africa was very delighted.

Calling African Scholars

By Rebecca Wanjiku

African scholars interested in developing and preserving indigenous languages have been challenged to take the lead in the Internationalised Domain Name (IDN) debate.

Prof. Maxime Z. Somé, from the University of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso called on African linguists to actively participate in the IDN project.

`Scientists and scholars should constitute themselves as an exceptional authority in African affairs and move the project forward, said Some.

Some is concerned that Cambodia, Japan, China, Korea and Arabic countries seem to be moving at a faster pace and leaving Africa behind.

In his opinion, linguistic experts as well as scientists in Africa should work together and move the agenda forward. He added that the IDN project requires linguists to agree on the language and terminologies of a particular language and the scientists to work on the technological aspects.

After the agreement of the scripts and language tables, the UNICODE consortium, which consists of computer makers and other bodies, will be expected to integrate the languages into most computers sold to the Africa region.

In this regard, if I have a computer, I can choose the language to use, just like I select to use French or German. In the case of French, the computer inserts the right accents and other letters that may not be available in the English key board.

Asked whether this will lead to development of many key boards, Some says experts can work on some regional languages like Bambara, used in Guinea, Mali, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso or Fulani, used in Nigeria, Senegal, Mauritania and Mali.

`We know that this project requires a lot of financial commitment and big businesses are not going to invest if not assured of profits. That leaves governments, which have been very non committal, ` he adds.

But he maintains that scholars can jumpstart the process by learning from other countries where experts volunteered their services for the sake of development.

Some spoke at the ongoing Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and
Numbers (ICANN) meeting in Sao Paulo, where the urgency of IDNs has taken
centre stage and its proponents are touting it as a solution to communication problems.

While there are workshops and follow-up meetings to discuss and update on issues relating to IDNs, Africa is stuck with the obsession of listing its numerous cultural and logistical problems as the hindrance to IDN progress.

In 2004, Adama Samassekou, head of the African Academy of Languages was quoted saying there was lethargy within African leadership to use local languages even at Africa Unity meetings Swahili was recommended in 1986
but was used at the AU meeting in July 2004. Swahili is widely spoken in 15
East and Central African countries.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

outside Tom Brasil.....

at Tom Brasil theatre in SP

this is where i attended a live show by two Brazilian muscians. apparently there was no much Samba, contrary to popular belif that Brazil equals Samba. theres plenty. i enjoyed.

Loving yourself

spending a night at J´burg international airport is not one of the best thing except if you are booked at the Intercon.

i think the best is the massage palour, it has whats called ``aqua massage``. your body sprayed with water as you lie down.

not naked of course and not like those dingy joints in down town Nairobi where massage can be misataken for other things but pure massage.

its done in full view, though you have to enter into the machine that dispenses water and the whole ceremony begins.

there is also massage on the chair which is also good. so if you are stuck at the airport, make sure you have extra rands.

Loving yourself

spending a night at J´burg international airport is not one of the best thing except if you are booked at the Intercon.

i think the best is the massage palour, it has whats called ``aqua massage``. your body sprayed with water as you lie down.

not naked of course and not like those dingy joints in down town Nairobi where massage can be misataken for other things but pure massage.

its done in full view, though you have to enter into the machine that dispenses water and the whole ceremony begins.

there is also massage on the chair which is also good. so if you are stuck at the airport, make sure you have extra rands.

Tech Challenges

hey guys,
i have been unable to blog coz my blog had been hijacked by some Ghanians, so anything i posted went to their site.
but its ok now....
read on...



Friday, December 01, 2006

The law is truly an ass

today the high court dismissed a case filed by a small girl seeking to strike out sections of the children's Act.

the girl, wanted the court to find that children born out of wedlock had a right to be supported by the father.

what the act does is oppressive to woimen because it places the burden of bringing up a kid born out of wedlock on women.

the court had been urged to make an order that the provisions favors kids in a family set up and discriminates aganist those out of wedlock. in case of divorce, a kid can compel the further to support but in case of illegitimate children......nothing.

high court judges Joseph Nyamu and Mohammed Ibrahim ruled that to strike out the provisions would be retrogressive and unforgivable.....

so you can forgive a father who adsonds his responsibility and heaps it on the mother...... truly an ass.....

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

transvestites in Brazil

am in Sao Paulo next and three of my friends have informed me that there are many transvestites. so, Jemo told me that everyman i see darting me is not necessarily a man, could be a woman dressed as a man and the reverse could be the case.

so, i will have time to write on the young men and my experiences in Brazil. i will make sure i visit night spots as well as the home of Pele, the great footballer!!!

i will be attending the Internet Corporation for Assigned names and Numbers ICANN international meeting.

so i will have more time to spare...... and get you the details....

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

young men who just want rich women

am sure you have all seen adverts in the "soul mate" column where young men just want rich women for sex and money.
well, hang on for my experiences with these yong men!!!
its provoking and funny!!

Monday, September 25, 2006


Today was the first hearing day of the murder case aganist Thomas Cholmondeley, the grandson of colonial settler Lord Delamere.

He is accussed of murdering Robert Njoya, a stonemason who was poaching animals in the expansive farm.

At the court room, one could not help notice the sharp differences between local and international journalists.

When the court adjourned, the local journalists could be ssen in one side, where the director of public prosecutions Keriako Tobiko was, while the international journalists were interested in the defense case.

The stories written reflect the same, the international press reflecting Njoya as a thug who attacked a poor settler. the local press also labours to present the rancher as a heartless and emotionless murderer.

while the local press quotes from another murder of Ole Sisina by the same rancher, the international press goes to great depths to explain the "he was attacked with a panga, like the ones used to kill during civil wars"

So much fo the so called objectivity in journalism.

Friday, September 22, 2006


Third Global Mobile Service (GSM) is now ready for roll out after Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) and Econet wireless won the latest legal battle seeking to delay the process until monetary issues are sorted out.
High court judge Mary Kasango struck out a suit filed by Kenya National Federation of Cooperatives Limited on a technicality. KNFC was seeking the court’s indulgence in its effort to avoid the month’s notice required before the suit can be filed. The procedure is prescribed under the Communications Act (1998).
Justice Kasango ruled that the law does not allow her to waive notice adding that the constitution allows her to be guided by written laws. She also declined to exrcise the inherent jurisdiction because such powers only exist where the law is not written or is unclear.
“KNFC finds itself without a leg to stand on. It can not obtain a waiver since the Act does not provide for such waiver. The court’s inherent powers can not salvage the situation,” justice Kasango found.
The Federation moved to court under a certificate of urgency seeking to block CCK from issuing frequencies and other technical fulfilments that were agreed under the licence.
The licence was awarded to KNFC together with its partners, Econet Wireless Kenya, Econet Wireless International Limited and Corporate Africa Limited in 2003 but the consortium has faced a rocky union because KNFC could not raise its required financial quota.
Justice Kasango was ruling on a preliminary objection raised by CCK contending that the court had no powers to issue any orders based on the papers filed by the Federation.
Lawyer Walter Amoko representing CCK told justice Kasango that the Communications Act provides for a period of six months within which an aggrieved party is expected to lodge the dispute. He argued that the Federation had slept on its rights for two years before filing the suit.
Lawyer Njoroge Regeru representing Econet told justice Kasango that the Federation had failed to disclose that there were other proceedings that had been argued before high court judge Mohammed Ibrahim. The consortium was invoved in a protracted legal tussle over shareholding but the case was decided against KNFC. The Federation has filed its appeal.
When the Federation was supposed to present its case on why the suit should be sustained, the lawyer, C.N Kihara did not appear at the appointed time. He only turned up after the judge had waited for half an hour and closed the proceedings of that day. The case was therefore based on the arguments presented by CCK and Econet.


It all started at a salon in Dar Es Salaam TZ, a Kenyan gal entered together with her “lover” who wanted her to have her hair done. The gal spoke with a strong Kenyan accent and the gals directed her to her “sister”. I had a chat with her and wanted to know where in Kenya she comes from, and she said; “coast”. Of course I could tell her kikuyu accent.

Being a kikuyu and with lots of prejudice as you can read, I enquired how I can hook up with an old white man who can take me places and pamper me as she had. She had gone on and on about the places she had been on holiday, courtesy of the white guy. We were all in laughter as we sought to know how they hooked up; it was all brewed over the internet!

The Internet!! We all said in unison maybe marvelling at the exploits of technology. We also bitched about how Kenyan girls are good at taking advantage of opportunities coming their way. I must say that is true. But the Internet has only provided us with a new realm.

So much for the Dar incident but my day of reckoning was to come.

At a shopping mall in Luxembourg, I had accompanied HANA editor Steve Lang for the ICANN meeting. We wanted to have lunch but we could not agree. He wanted Japanese salad and I wanted a taste of Thai.

You see, am used to Nairobi shopping malls where you buy food anywhere and sit anywhere in the food court. Not in Luxembourg! If you buy Japanese, sit at their space and Thai has its space. But we wanted to sit together.

So when I went to buy my food, the gal at the sushi bar told Steve, “tell your wife she can sit with you”. So Steve called me and we sat. When leaving, he told me what the gal had said.

And I wondered, how could she think of that, but then I thought that is what we are known for. But I have no intention of hooking up with a pensioner.

So much for the trophy wives.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Wednesday, September 13, 2006



African journalism is contributing to development and the situation will improve if journalists overcome myths and obstacles, said Highway Africa Director, Chris Kabwato.

In his welcome address, Kabwato drew an analogy with the Greek mythological figure Icarus who is famous for flying closer to the sun and his artificial wings melted.

Welcoming more than 500 journalists from 42 countries Kabwato said it was possible for African journalists to break the myths that dictate how issues should be covered and represented through media.

“Let us all defy the Greek mythology and fly closer to the sun than Icarus. Let us dare to challenge the economic policies and issues of democracy in our countries. Let us shake the fundamental myths and transform the way we do journalism,” said Highway Africa Director, Chris Kabwato.

Kabwato underscored Highway Africa’s commitment to training of African journalists on ICTs, research, information provision and the conference which offers networking opportunities for media practitioners.

Prof. Guy Berger, Head of the school of journalism and Media studies at Rhodes University said that in the last ten years, African journalism has overcome a lot and the progress is encouraging.

“Ten years ago the internet was barely known. Right now we can talk of the digital divide and the differences in access between rural and urban areas. We are a movement, a community, and an incubator for ideas waiting development,” said Berger.

While emphasizing the need to learn and embrace new technology, Berger said that Highway Africa is not an engineering school but seeks to empower journalists to communicate using ICTs.

The ICT tools, Berger added, should be used in the context of other pressing issues such as economic policies, culture and peculiar circumstances that a country maybe facing.

“There is passion in what we are trying to do. HA is ten years old and in the upcoming teenage years, there will be excitement and lots of experiments,” Berger concluded.



By Kezio-Musoke David and Rebecca Wanjiku

African governments who gag investigative journalists have been put on notice, courtesy of modern computer applications available on the World Wide Web, said Tom Johnson managing director, Institute for Analytic Journalism.

Johnson said technology will make it hard for governments or other agents affected by investigative work to destroy journalistic work.

While training journalists on the available Web operations that can guarantee security, sharing and storage of their work, Johnson said that the Internet is promoting freedom of _expression and making it harder to destroy vital information.

“Web 2.0 applications can be used as weapons to fight corruption. Web 2.0 Applications will not directly fright corruption but will equip journalist with resources to do better investigations, research and analysis,” Johnson said.

In countries known for investigative journalism, media houses have been burnt and computers stolen by agents opposed to publication. For instance, in Kenya the government stormed The Standard Group, carried computers and burnt newspapers. The move was calculated to force the Standard Group to abandon serialisation of corrupt deals by the government.

“It is now easy to scan documents and store them digitally; they will be available everywhere in a computer. Digital storage acts as backup incase the hard disk is stolen or destroyed,” Johnson said.

Johnson acknowledged that the technology may not be fully available to all journalists in Africa but noted that the continent is growing at a fast rate and introduction of the internet tools will improve investigative journalism.

“I am surprised that in Africa the use of SMS applications is massive as compared to North and South America . This is exactly what I am talking about. The integration of digital technology with the use of Web 2.0 can be very useful in and environment where the infrastructure is limited,” he added.

Web 2.0 is an open source software available free or low-cost. According to the journalism trainer, these applications are continually collaboratively updated making it easier for users to suit it to their needs.

In this respect, Johnson said the applications can allow journalists to research, write, analyse and store information on the internet. The applications make it easier for journalists to share the information and continually update, erasing the need for physical presence. For instance, journalists in Cape Town and Durban can follow similar stories and update via the web without meeting.

Regarding on-line storage, Johnson singled out Google’s Gmail which offers users 2.7 GB, Yahoo, 1 GB and all files can be shared. Others are, Freedrive, and Fortune City.

On sharing information and editing, he suggested several websites that allow various options for book marking and follow-up of web links. Examples:,,, and



By Rebecca Wanjiku
When Maphule Mbhalati was growing up, radio was a classified tool signifying status and wealth. Her grandmother was a proud radio owner and everyone marvelled at the sound waves and wondered how news was produced.

Today, the head of radio news and current affairs at SABC has a message for remote and poor communities that have no access to radio: we are coming to you!

Speaking at the plenary session, Mbhalati told journalists from 42 countries that digital and Satellite radio is poised to revolutionalise how news is disseminated in remote and poor communities in Africa .

“At SABC, we have several radio stations and each of them has an outside broadcast vehicle to visit remote areas. In the absence of a vehicle we have satellite radio that can be received beyond boundaries,” Mbhalati said.

Through digital and satellite radio, Mbhalati said communities can tell their stories and can interact with radio presenters or comment on issues covered by the station. Mbhalati was chairing a session titled Radio in Africa : yesterday today and tomorrow.

“In the past, radio was communal, today it is a fusion between communal and individual tastes, in the future, people are going to decide when the can listen and what they listen to. They will make their voices heard through satellite, digital and internet radio,” Mbhalati added.

Rayborn Bulley, a journalist from Ghana detailed how military dictators took advantage of the single national radio stations to announce the coup and suppress any uprising.

According to his experience, the 139 radio stations in Ghana had promoted freedom of _expression and political accountability but had raised questions regarding journalism ethics and professionalism.

“The FM stations are not employing professionals; many of the presenters are disk jockeys or celebrities. Radio is forcing us to rethink about who is a journalist and who is not,” said Bulley.

Responding to the concerns of non professionalism, Macharia Gaitho, a senior editor with the Nation Newspaper in Kenya said that with the liberalisation of the airwaves has come with its own anarchy.

“I would rather have the anarchy that is there than situations where military dictators take over a radio station and announce their power take over,” Gaitho said.

Regarding professionalism, Bulley acknowledged that the politicians complain anytime listeners call the stations and air negative comments.

Acknowledging opportunities that presents, Portia Kobue from Kaya FM in Johannesburg associated herself with sentiments expressed by Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka who says radio has grown from a propaganda tool to an empowering tool.

“Days are gone when radio news would be characterised by two simple sentences. We need journalists who can tell stories, impact lives,” said Kobue.


Thursday, August 10, 2006


Look out for news from Highway Africa, September 10-15, 2006

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


By Rebecca Wanjiku

Africa’s participation in Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) meetings is set to improve following a decision by the organizers to provide scholarships.

“In the 2006/2007 budget, ICANN has factored in provision for scholarships for Africa’s participation,” said Paul Twomey, ICANN president.

Twomey says there has been an increase in Africa’s participation but is quick to note there is need for an increase in numbers of participants.

There has been intense lobbying by Africans participating in the meeting for improvement of the number of participants from Africa. It has been argued that most Africans lack the financial capacity to travel to these meetings.

“It is true that some of our governments have no capacity to finance their officers to these meetings,” said Mouhamet Diop, a former ICANN board member.

Whilst finance may be the case, the continent suffers from its obsession with bureaucracy and red tape. Most governments release their officials if the meeting is by another government and on an official letterhead.

Maimouna Diagne from Senegal adds that some governments wonder what participation in the meetings is likely to yield for the governments.

“A government official is expected to demonstrate the importance of these meetings and at times it’s not easy. The invite is through email and it may not be as official as some governments want,” adds Maimouna.

Apart from the financial support, she says there is need for workshops and trainings to raise awareness about ICANN and its operations in Africa. She feels there is need for Africa to understand the role of the Government Advisory Committee (GAC) in ICANN and how they can participate.

In GAC, governments have a chance to discuss issues affecting them and how they can work together with the private sector. According to Mohamed Tarmizi, GAC chairman, it started being active in 1999 and was seen as a process of moving ICANN to another level.

Tarmizi says that in the meetings, members are encouraged to address pressing issues relating to internet and internet governance within the 110 member countries.

“How do we start discuss who does or does not govern the internet while a country has no broadband connection, has no undersea cable and satellite uplink is not working well. Within our informal networks, we try to encourage governments to work on their priorities,” Tarmizi adds.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


By Rebecca
When the idea of establishing a Regional Internet Registry (RIR), was floated in 1998, pessimists dismissed the idea arguing that Africa is incapable of sustaining the registry while others said that we need to take part in the digital race.

A year after AfriNIC was given full recognition and backing by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organization has made major strides towards allocating Internet Protocol (IP) addresses and training.

“We have conducted training in Egypt, Sudan, Nigeria and Kenya. We are hoping to harness the human recourse so that we can have people to offer these services as new technology emerges,” said Adiel Akplogan, AfriNIC chief executive.

AfriNIC was recognized last April at a meeting held in Argentina. Previously, African Internet Service Providers (ISPs) had to work with other RIR in Europe and North America.

But Akplogan admits that technology consumption still poses a major challenge and is not as rosy as it may suggest. For instance out of 15 million IP address, Africa has only used up 6 per cent.

“I believe there is still lack of aware on the availability of such services. Some network operators in the region do not know they can come to AfriNIC and get the allocations,” said Akplogan.

While the slow uptake of uptake of IP address has been blamed on the lack of awareness, it is also argued that the prices charged are still high for a market that is still struggling with issues of accessibility.

Pierre Ouedraogo, from Burkina Faso says that the prices have been reduced to fit the African market given that before AfriNIC prices were dictated by other regions depending on the area of allocation.

“In 1997, I got the first IP address block from Europe; Burkina Faso has not exhausted these numbers. All Africans should believe in our movement, telecommunication agencies, governments and technology experts should engage in outreach activities to ensure as many people as possible are aware of the services,” Ouedraogo said.

There is debate whether Africa should proceed with allocation of IP version 6 or first exhaust the available version 4.

However, Akplogan and Ouedraogo feel that if a country has the ability to roll out IPv6, then it should not be restricted. They contend that it is easier to adapt to the new strategy since some had not even taken up the IPv4.

IPv4 has been in use since internet was discovered and there has been a push for a newer version that would adopt more features. IPv6 has improved functions, compared to version 4.

“It’s the future of the networks, have to follow technology evolution, what people are doing now, there is no need to wait” said Akplogan.

Akplogan admits that after the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) and the ensuing debate on Internet Governance AfriNIC has been forced to be focal point on such issues in the region.

“We need more resources to deal with different issues without neglecting our core business which is allocation of IP addresses,” Akplogan added.


Monday, June 26, 2006


At the tourist city of Marrakech, Internet stakeholders are gathered for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ICANN meeting.

Moroccan Prime Minister Driss Jettou graced the ceremony and gave his government’s testimony of how Information Communication Technology ICT can leverage modernization and territorial administration.

“Through internet development, Morocco is well anchored to provide essential services locally and abroad,” Jettou said.

To demonstrate the development, Jettou noted that the country has provided four million employment opportunities compared to a million jobs created online in 2004.

This, he added, has been through concerted efforts between the government and other players of improving access, content and training.

In access and training, the prime minister says the government put aside USD 100 million to equip secondary school students with necessary skills. The project is expected to be rolled out fully by 2008.

“The government is using internet to provide essential services such as information on revenue collection, justice department and overall administration,” added Jettou.

ICANN board chairman Vint Cerf lauded the Moroccan government’s effort saying that the country was at a vantage point to provide services in French and Arabic.

“This meeting is going to discuss how non English languages can be effectively used in the internet. How morocco can effectively provide services beyond its borders using French, Arabic or other languages,” said Cerf

The use of non English language and not Latin alphabets is commonly known as Internationalized Domain Names IDN. The meeting is expected to report on progress in rolling out the project.

The project has been well embraced and championed by the Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, French, and Arabs. The rest of indigenous African languages are still in conception stage and there is no clear way forward over financing or the term of the conception.

According to Paul Twomey, ICANN president, the meeting is geared towards open discussions on various issues affecting the industry.

“There will be discussions relating to the ICANN memorandum of understanding with the American department of commerce, which expires in September,” said Twomey.

The meeting is expected to be the theatre of protracted debate between governments and industry specialists on what amount of user information should be available for scrutiny and whether the disclosure may amount to violation of individual rights.

ICANN will hold discussions between government representatives and stakeholders and establish the way forward. Governments argue that the information would help in cases of fraud and other illegal activities while the industry wants freedom for users.

“There will be representatives from Holland, Japan and USA to add flavor to the discussion on the debate,” Cerf concluded.


Thursday, March 30, 2006

Midwives for new ICANN

By Rebecca Wanjiku

The Internet Corporation for assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has appointed a 10-man committee to discuss and give recommendations on its new role after the memorandum with the US government expires this year.

The committee is composed of big names in the Information Society and is expected to help identify characteristics of a model that will satisfy the internet community as well as governments.

“The committee will be mandated to study the environment surrounding conclusion of the MoU and advise on how issues of government and non-governmental entities can be addressed,” said Paul Twomey, ICANN president.

The strategic committee appointed under the president, has three co-chairs- ICANN board member Peter Dengate Thrush, former Swedish Prime Minister, Carl Bildt, and Twomey. ICANN board chairman Vint Cerf is an ex officio member.

Other members include; former chair of the first preparatory committee for the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) Adama Samassekou, Janis Karklins, who was the chair of the second preparatory committee, Thomas Niles, and Marilyn Cade.
Twomey informer the public gathering in Wellington that two senior business figures in the United States have verbally agreed to be a members but he did not have written confirmation from their offices and he could not give their names.

But participants raised questions regarding composition of the group and what its main objective was. There were questions whether it was supposed to merely represent regions or was a diplomatic exercise actuated by the need to present ICANN as an international body.

ICANN board member Raimundo Beca questioned the composition noting that South America was not represented in the arrangement.

Cerf said the members were selected to reflect the international nature of the committee and to solicit opinions from outsiders regarding how the internet oversight body should be ran.

“The committee is expected to form additional source of information from people who don’t come to ICANN meetings. It is a multi-stakeholder structure and we tried to be as inclusive as possible,” said Twomey.

Before ICANN disengages from the US department of commerce, it is expected to fulfill requirements by ensuring that it has implemented a consensus policy regarding new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) and establish accountability frameworks with country code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) e.g.,, and many others.
ICANN is also expected to execute addition MoUs with Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) describing duties of all parties. RIRs include; AFriNIC for Africa, RIPE NCC for Europe and the Middle East, ARIN for North America, LACNIC for Latin America including the Caribbean and APNIC for Asia-Pacific region.

What is ICANN?

By Rebecca Wanjiku
What is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Number (ICANN)?
To some, it is the Internet oversight body, to others; it is an organisation that champions ideals of the US government others know that it deals with technical stuff while others have no idea what all this hullabaloo about ICANN is all about.

Well, in whatever way you define it, ICANN affects our lives today and will continue doing so as long as we are in this information super highway.

Its major responsibility falls under the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). This service ensures that business runs smoothly on the internet and is well prepared in case of any physical or business disruption. It is in IANA that ICANN regulates the internet registries, registrars. There are other organs of ICANN such as Government Advisory Committee (GAC), but dealing with IANA functions makes it easier to understand.

Through IANA, ICANN determines who runs the dot net domain, dot org or dot com. Dot com and dot net domains are ran by an American firm- VeriSign- which has been subject of discussion in many internet related forums.

The main subject in the forums has been the recent settlement was a culmination of a protracted legal tussle between ICANN and the company. The settlement allows VeriSign to increase the cost of domain names and it is presumed that the contract to run the domain names will be automatically renewed when it expires.

The decision to settle did not augur well with stakeholders who saw it as a way to extend the monopoly enjoyed by US organisation. The feeling was well demonstrated during the bid to run dot net domain name, which was won by VeriSign.

“All stakeholders who responded in the public forum were against this settlement. The bottom-up approach assumed by ICANN could not have reached this decision. The reasons given by the board for the decision are not sufficient,” summed Collin Jackson, from New Zealand. He was addressing the board during the public forum.

Elliot Noss from Canada had a complaint against ICANN staff for failing to supply him with documents supplied by VeriSign in support of their proposal and the documents supplied by board members before they decided to settle.

“The staff has a duty to be transparent, we had no idea of what was going on,” added Noss.

In short, those who attend ICANN meetings come to represent their interests. Nobody cares whether Africa is represented or not. If any help or any consideration is needed, governments, regions and entities such as businesses form a caucus and champion their rights.

Africa has minimal representation and though it has two members on the board-Mouhamet Diop from Senegal and Njeri Rionge from Kenya- there is no critical mass to identify what interventions are needed.

For instance, to ensure that pornographic sites are not given the freedom to operate under dot XXX domain name, some opposing governments made sure their voices are well articulated under GAC.

Simply, that is how business is conducted at ICANN meetings, you got an issue, and you have to make it heard! This is not World Bank or International Monetary Fund so for any change, human and material resources have to be pulled together and there has to be tangible results.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

ICANN and language

By Rebecca Wanjiku

The Internet oversight body is embarking on an ambitious project aimed at ensuring its materials and resources can be accessed in local languages all over the world.

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has promised to increase availability of their newsletter and website in various languages. Currently, some materials have been translated to Kiswahili.

Though ICANN has not specified the languages it is planning to embark on, it has invited participants to scrutinise its strategic plan and raise their concerns.

The move to increase the number of languages is calculated to facilitate effective and multilingual communication and allow participating communities to interact.

“Translation will improve ability of stakeholders to participate in ICANN processes including in languages other than English,” said Kurt Pritz ICANN vice president in charge of business operations.

Kurt told participants of the meeting in Wellington that the project will create an operational policy and guidelines to steer future translation efforts.

“Translation is not an end rather a means to an end,” added Kurt.



By Rebecca Wanjiku

The last time ICANN held its meeting in Africa, there was a unanimous call for the internet oversight body to increase its outreach programs and presence in Africa.

Two years after Cape Town 2004, ICANN appointed an Egyptian, Baher Esmat as the Global partnership Liaison for Middle East, Ann-Rachel Inne from Niger as the Liaison for Africa, and will hold the next meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco.

For the North African country hosting the ICANN meeting will be a challenge as well as an opportunity to showcase their ICT prowess.

“We met the criteria set by ICANN to host meetings. We have good internet connection as well as tourist facilities,” said Hamida Benlemlih, project manager at the Moroccan telecommunication ministry.

According to Hamida, the meeting will give visitors a chance to see Morocco and witness the progress made in bridging the digital divide.

She admits that Morocco experiences a gap between the urban and rural areas in terms of ICT accessibility but notes that the government has made considerable progress. In Morocco, 4.5 million can access ICT out of a population of 32 million.


Knowing New Zealand

By Rebecca Wanjiku

What comes to your mind when you think of New Zealand? Kiwis? Rugby? Cricket? Maori? Or does it strike you like this well developed nation which is strict on importation that you cant even bring in a half chewed fruit?

Whatever you have in mind, it may be true. They are known as the kiwis, play cricket, they whip their opponents in most rugby matches and they perform the infamous haka dance after every win.

The importation laws are so strict that a Kenyan friend warned me to alert the customs officials about some candy I bought somewhere in transit. They got strict penalties for non compliance.

That may be one side of New Zealand but when it comes to Information Communication Technology, they have a different story.

They have three telecom providers but even in the conference hall, the internet connection is erratic, probably reminding one of connection in some of our countries.

The erratic connection may lead one to the question, “I thought New Zealand was way ahead in ICT development?”

No! New Zealand has some rural population that has no access to mobile phones let alone internet connection. Though the rural population is mainly the indigenous Maori, there are some white settlers too.

According to Karen Burns, a senior analyst with the government’s interoperable programme, they are working hard to ensure that the rural areas in the south and north islands is well connected with ICT.

“The government is trying to make it as easy as possible to access ICT. The government has an interconnected website where residents can access government services in one site,” said Burns.

The government has also set up special training programmes for Maori and other Pacific island residents to ensure they are well versed with technology.

According to Burns, the website is accessible in English and Maori languages and the people tasked with the online services can speak a host of other languages to make it easier for everyone.

New Zealand was originally occupied by the Maori before the British settled. A treaty was signed between the Maori and British that the locals would own land that was originally theirs, if they can prove the ancestral lineage.

This contract, Burns says, is still honoured to date though it was signed in 1840. She adds that if a person can prove that the land was unfairly taken and prove the lineage and ownership, the courts have a right to enforce it.


Monday, March 27, 2006


By Rebecca Wanjiku
Internet Corporation for assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) opened its doors to the public in Wellington with particular emphasis on using internet for cultural integration.

In his opening address, Vinton Cerf, ICANN board Chairman, invited participants to develop innovative applications to ensure internet is important to cultures as well as economic growth.

“We need new idea and new applications to create substantial growth and development,” said Cerf.

In the past, Internet has been marketed more as a tool for economic progression and less as a vehicle to preserving culture and social development.

The meeting was officially opened by Hon. David Cunliffe, the minister in charge of communication and Information Technology in New Zealand.

“The principle focus of this meeting will be how improved access to ICTs can assist in regional economic and social development,” said Cunliffe.

The meeting precedes another gathering of communication ministers from the Pacific Island Forum scheduled for March 30th 2006. Cunliffe identified the ICANN meeting as an important forum to small isolated island populations who wish to save their cultural heritage in an increasingly globalised and networked world.

The minister called all governments to participate to participate in internet issues mainly the central coordinating functions that ICANN deals with.

In his speech, he drew parallels with the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) which focused much attention on the need for better access to internet resources by developing countries.

“The New Zealand government welcomes the Tunis Agenda and especially its call for greator online participation from least developed nations,” said Cunliffe.

The thorny question of Internet governance or ownership was also addressed at the opening with Cerf insisting that ICANN does not control internet assets in any way. He maintained that there are new discoveries every day and 99 per cent of internet applications are yet to be developed.

Paul Twomey, ICANN president and Chief Executive Officer also emphasized that the organization merely coordinates various internet functions.

This meeting is expected to further discussions on development of Internationalized Domain Names (IDN), which will allow use of African languages with proper accents on the net.

The issue of Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) will be discussed and is expected to shed more light on global policy and allocation.