AFRINIC AFRINIC – CEO Impromptu Travel & attempt to oust the Board Chair

The African Network Information Centre (AFRINIC) is the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) for Africa. It is responsible for the distribution and management of Internet number resources (IPv4, IPv6 and ASN) for the African and Indian Ocean region.

Ish Sookun

2 min read

AFRINIC is currently under a lot of pressure and criticism. Criticism especially, because of the way legal affairs are being handled, issues with regards to the candidate slate of the upcoming Board elections, the AGMM etc.

I am following updates about the Board elections. The Independent Seat 7 is one for which Mauritians are eligible to run as candidate and therefore I am interested in knowing about the candidates for this seat.

Writing about the Board elections is something that would make up a full blog post and I should probably cover that separately. In this post, I am writing about something peculiar that I found in the minutes of the AFRINIC Board meetings.

On the 13th of November 2021, a special Board meeting was called, at 10h17 UTC via AFRINIC's online conferencing system. Five Board Directors and the AFRINIC CEO were present in the meeting. Two Board Directors were absent. What is particular about this meeting is one item in the agenda, mentioned as CEO Impromptu Travel.

Now, we know that AFRINIC staff travel at the organisation's expense and any travel related to AFRINIC business by the CEO will be covered by AFRINIC. However, I am curious, what was that "impromptu travel" about, that it became a Board meeting agenda item?

Well, that day the special Board meeting could not proceed due to an irregularity about the meeting's notice to Board directors.

So, still curious I checked the minutes of the next Board meeting, which was held on the 24th November 2021 at 09h10 UTC via the AFRINIC online conferencing system. This time only one Board director was absent. I looked at the agenda to see if the CEO Impromptu Travel item was brought up again but this time I find that a Board Director moved a motion of no confidence in the Chairman.

The Board director said that there is no good working relationship between the CEO and the Chair. The Board director proposed the motion of no confidence in the Chairman and to my surprise this motion was seconded by none other than the CEO himself.

I find this an extremely conflicted situation. How come the CEO seconds a motion of confidence in the Chair when the CEO himself is mentioned in the objection? If tomorrow the CEO is not in a good working relationship with another Board Chair, then what? Would there be another no confidence vote?

The timing of the motion of no confidence, right after an Impromptu Travel by the CEO being on the Board agenda, makes me think that the Board director who proposed the motion and the CEO might have colluded to oust the current Board Chair.

Nevertheless, the motion failed as the votes were four against three in favour of the Board Chair.