The importance of our First Citizen

30 April 2018 | Columns

We would be dishonest if we said that we were not shocked by the news that President Hage Geingob has not departed from Eros Airport since 2016, due to safety concerns.

What surprised us was that no announcement was made in this regard and neither were any discussions held with the Namibia Airports Company or the Ministry of Works, at least to a degree where the media were informed, that the main runway at the airport was not deemed safe for the country's First Citizen. Our first question is this regard is that if it is not safe for His Excellency, why is it safe for the tourist or the taxpayer? Or his crew for that matter. And while we are aware that the decision was, in all likelihood, not made the president himself, the president surely has the power to overturn such a decision, bearing in mind the costs involved with the to and fro of the aircraft used. This brings us to our second question. Are we to ignore, or turn a blind eye, to the glaring arrogance that our First Citizen is the most important person in the country? Does the government, and by implication, its supreme leader, not serve the people, at the behest of the people, using the people's money to live and serve? Correct us if we are wrong, but in our view, government works for the taxpayer, the people. Finally, in these trying economic times, where budgets for critically important services, including police, health and education have been cut, surely we can sorely afford the costs involved with motorcades travelling to and from the international airport, to drop off or collect the president. The costs involved with jets flying below altitude, drinking up aviation fuel, and of course, the self-same levels of consumption during taxiing after landing or to take-off. Not to mention the wear and tear of the wheels of the aircraft.

These are the matters that concern us most.

However, there is also the issue of the blatant lack of maintenance done at Eros' infrastructure and of course, the fact that landing and take-off fees are going directly into State coffers. There we are with Minister Mutorwa – the money needs to go to the NCAA, directly.

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