TO Inspector Thomas Aiyambo, the Oshana regional spokesperson of the Namibian Police, Thursday was a hectic day, but that was not something unusual for him and the members of the social mobilization team he is leading.
The team – comprising of police officers and officials from the ministries of health, urban and rural development and information and communication technology – is crisscrossing villages and informal settlements sharing information on how the coronavirus is transmitted, how to prevent its spread and the need to strictly abide by the lockdown regulations.
Inspector Aiyambo, whose team spent much of Thursday in the Ompumbu location of Oshakati, said they encountered some people who still subvert the lockdown regulations.
“In the process of sensitizing community members we are occasionally tipped off about people who are violating the lockdown regulations and, reacting promptly, we caught some of them red-handed,” he said.
He said that his team found three Ompumbu residents secretly selling the moderately alcoholic home brew locally known as otombo.
In one case the otombo container was hidden in a wardrobe, while in the other two cases the containers were found hidden in bedrooms.
It is alleged that the secret business has been going on since the lockdown came into effect, but only a few people were aware of what was going on. Only trusted patrons are served and this is done in a way that attracts no attention from passers-by and unsuspecting residents.
“After apprehending them, we explained to them the lockdown regulations and the relevant penalties for violators, which in their case was N$2 000 each or six months behind bars. All pleaded guilty, apologized, promised that they will never repeat the offence, prayed for forgiveness and even offered to throw otombo out. And having looked at their personal circumstances, and using our own discretion, we warned them instead of fining or arresting them,” said Aiyambo.
Two of the suspects are breastfeeding small babies and the third was close to tears as she prayed for forgiveness.