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Queues frustrate old, frail pensioners

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By Jameson Chauluka:

Old and frail pensioners undergoing physical head count which the Ministry of Finance has initiated are complaining of being made to wait for hours on end on queues before they are assisted.

The exercise, which started on Monday, is expected to end tomorrow but, as of Wednesday, most of the pensioners were yet to be assisted at the Accountant General’s office in Blantyre.

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A Times crew found sick and old people standing on long queues, with some claiming that they had been going to the office since Monday.

An 85-year-old Jonathan Peter Benjala said he was going home without being assisted as he could not stand on a queue for hours.

“There is no possibility that I can be assisted today. I am 85 years old and cannot stand on these queues for hours because I have a problem with my leg,” he said while struggling to stand on his walking stick.

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Another pensioner, Christopher Soko, said the system was not working, urging the government to open more centres.

“All of us are being assisted from one centre but there are just too many pensioners coming here from all the ministries and government departments. We need more centres or at least let them extend the days of the exercise. There are old and sick people here. This is torture,” he said.

Ministry of Finance spokesperson, David Sado, said they were exploring ways of dealing with the problem.

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