By Wezzie Gausi:
Civil society organisations have cited the enactment of the Older Persons Bill as one of the strategies that can help the government address the problem of attacks on senior citizens.
The organisations, namely Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and Malawi Network of Older Persons’ Organisations (Manepo), say lack of requisite laws is giving misinformed people the leeway to accuse elderly people of practising witchcraft.
The call for the tabling of the bill comes at a time elderly people are reported to be facing problems in the country.
CHRR Executive Director (ED) Michael Kaiyatsa said the only way elderly people can be protected is to have a legal framework that protects them.
“We all heard about what some elderly people went through in the year 2022. What happened was not something to write home about.
“This is why we want the bill tabled in Parliament as soon as Parliament starts meeting this year. Once the bill is passed into law, it will give elderly people freedom to live in peace,” Kaiyatsa said.
Manepo ED Andrew Kavala concurred.
“It is sad that the bill is not being prioritised.
“If they will not table the bill in Parliament in February, elderly people will mobilise themselves and demonstrate on the streets,” he said.
In 2021, Bishop of Dedza Diocese of the Catholic Church Peter Chifukwa called on members of Parliament to debate and enact an Older Persons Bill into law in order to safeguard the rights of the elderly.
According to Manepo statistics, 25 elderly people were killed for various reasons in 2022.