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‘Discrimination against the elderly derails economic growth’

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Financial discrimination against the elderly is negatively affecting economic development of the country.

Malawi Network of Older Persons Organisation (Manepo) Executive Director, Andrew Kavala, said this in Mulanje during this year’s commemorations of the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

Kavala said older people in the country are suffering from the problems of property grabbing and other forms of financial discrimination.

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He said ill-minded people have devised ways of grabbing property of the elderly without attracting the attention of law enforcers.

“When they see that an old person has property, they accuse him of baseless things such as practicing witchcraft in order to drive them out of their property,” Kavala said.

Kavala also faulted commercial banks for putting an age limit on customers who can access loans.

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He said this deprives older persons of the necessary capital, especially those who are interested in entrepreneurship.

“However, the world is aging, so that someone of 60 years or so can be very strong and be able to run their businesses. This is pure discrimination,” Kavala said.

One of the older persons in Mulanje, Hardwork Kaliya, said the elderly face numerous challenges, perpetuated, mostly, by their children or grandchildren.

“We struggle to educate our children and grandchildren but when they grow up and get high positions in society, they think that we are useless and chase us from our land. Some people actually run away from their own land,” he said.

Mulanje Police Officer-in-Charge, Kilbrey Kawonga, conceded that there are several forms of abuse against older people in the district but said the police are doing all they can to protect older people from such abuses.

This year’s World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was commemorated under the theme ‘Understand and End Financial Abuse against Older People, a Human Rights Issue’.

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