Close the preferential treatment door

Rules and laws must apply to all, especially during a state of emergency for a global pandemic. There must be no preferential treatment for well-connected billionaires of anyone else.

Apparently, Russian billionaire Rashid Sardarov’s private jet landed at HK International airport with a crew of people from the outside that were not put in quarantine. The Executive Director in the ministry of works evidently commented that they have recorded increased frequencies of private planes coming in when this is not supposed to be happening.

The rich and powerful do not have an inherent resistance to COVID-19. Let the pandemic restrictions apply equally, lest we open the door wider for infection. Namibia is almost to the finish line of the state of emergency; let’s not mess up now.

The recent point of contention is that Sardarov’s plane came in on a Friday and left with him ‘over the weekend’, according to newspaper reports. The Minister of Home Affairs, Frans Kapofi says that the crew never exited the plane and that is why they weren’t put under quarantine. This annoying event is just one more head-shaking activity by the Namibian government.

There is no way a plane of foreigners, untested, unchecked, and not placed in quarantine should be allowed anywhere near Namibia. Of course, that crew deplaned – we are not so easily placated by sweeping illogical statements. Those people did not sleep on that plane overnight. If it is true that the arrived on a Friday and left “on the weekend” as reported, they did not eat, sleep, wash up, and live inside that plane for the entire time.

The law is the law. Even if that plane came from heaven with the Archangel Gabriel as the pilot flying in from heaven, Namibian law would apply. He must be quarantined and tested just like everyone else entering Namibia from the outside.

We have no information on the foreign origin of the private plane or its crew. However, FYI – Russia has 561,000 infections and 7,660 who have died of the pandemic to date. Those that opened up our nation the virus, no matter how ‘small’ they assume these threats are, should be held accountable.

Who gave them the right to put everyone else at risk?

Why lockdown Erongo region when government officials prop the doors open for a select few. COVID won’t say, “Well, he is a billionaire with powerful friends so I won’t infect his airplane crew.”

Sardarov’s history of preferential treatment in Namibia is not new. With the purchase of huge swaths of Namibian land and downturned eyes from government, it was clear that the man is a government ‘blessee’. Perhaps the story behind this will come out Fishrot style.

Recent reports of mistreatment by the Russian’s staff on the farms he purchased just before the land conference in 2018 are unsurprising. That was always going to happen sooner or later. The man has a carte blanche and he will use it.

What are labour laws to the recipient of preferential treatment? The man obviously has Namibian powerbrokers on speed dial.

The rights of Namibian workers in the Republic of Sardarov near Dorbabis may never be a priority issue for some. Remember the current minister of labour was the same minister of lands that gave permission for the controversial land sale in 2018.

Once a crack is purposefully made in a dam, the entire structure’s strength is undermined. The crack will get larger as water pressure builds up. Each exception granted compromises the integrity of the entire legal structure.

Being fair is not easy; the rich and powerful EXPECT corners to be cut for them. They demand it and threaten retribution if they don’t get it. They usually lavish ‘favours’ on those who do their bidding. The temptation to look their other way when it pays well is great. Doing the right thing is never easy, but decision-makers and office bearers swore an oath to do just that.

For the sake of the rest of us who need the state of emergency to be lifted, let there be no corners cut on protections against the pandemic. Let those accepting ‘smiling nods’ and brown envelopes be caught, prosecuted, and jailed right beside the Fishrot gang. We must close the door on preferential treatment.

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