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Elderly people’s call for respite

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WORRIED— Kavala

The elderly are supposed to be protected in their communities but you find some people who are just excited for nothing and go about destabilising the peace elderly persons enjoy. “What they are doing is criminal and we, as the government, will make sure that elderly persons are protected and bring perpetrators to justice”.

Ignatius Daudi Mpaha’s ceiling of hope has been collapsing each passing day.

He is one of the elderly people in the country.

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“We are discriminated against in this country. I blame the situation on lack of requisite laws,” Mpaha said.

He said countless people who have been overtaken by age are also left out of initiatives that promote self-sustenance, citing the social cash transfer programme.

His sentiments may not be far from the truth.

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According to Malawi Network of Older Persons Organisation (Manepo) statistics, 21 elderly people fell victim to attacks in the year 2021.

These are not ordinary attacks but those that culminate in death.

“As such, by saying 21, we are talking of elderly people that were killed on witchcraft-related accusations,” said the organisation’s executive director Andrew Kavala.

This year, which is just roughly six months old, eight elderly people have already been killed, with stakeholders registering 23 cases of victimisation.

These figures have come to light when, Wednesday, the elderly commemorated World Elderly Abuse Awareness Day.

The day is an annual initiative launched on June 15 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elderly Abuse and the World Health Organisation.

It aims to provide an opportunity for community members around the world to promote a better understanding of the abuse the elderly suffer by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic, and demographic processes affecting them.

“We need the Older Persons Bill now rather than later. The country needs a law that will protect the elderly,” he said.

Secretary for Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare Roselyn Makhumula said the ministry will see to it that the bill sees the light of day.

“We understand the concerns of people, as regards delays to table the bill, but the fact of the matter is that the bill is being handled. The draft bill was sent to the Ministry of Justice for further review and we know that they are working on it and, after that, they will take it to the next level,’’ she said.

Makhumula, however, appealed to Malawians to work together in protecting the elderly.

“The elderly are supposed to be protected in their communities but you find some people who get excited for nothing and go about destabilising the peace elderly persons enjoy.

“What they are doing is criminal and we, as the government, will make sure that elderly persons are protected and bring perpetrators to justice,” she said.

Deputy Commissioner of Police, who is also Officer-in-charge for Limbe Police Station, Gladson Chipumphula, assured Malawians that perpetrators of violence against the elderly would be dealt with.

“People should defend the elderly whenever they see that they are being abused in any way,” he said.

That way, people like Mpaha will feel appreciated in the country, the self-proclaimed Warm Heart of Africa.

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