Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare, Honourable Jean Sendeza, MP on Thursday condemned the increased attacks on the elderly in the country, saying it was unfortunate to see the abuses that elderly people are being subjected to.
Speaking during a press briefing at the Ministry’s Conference room, the Minister described as appalling the increasing numbers of violence and killings of the elderly.
She cited the recent incident where four elderly women were attacked for being suspected of bewitching a person who had died in Nsanje district.
“It is disheartening to note that for the past two years, 26 elderly persons have been killed as a result of being suspected of practising witchcraft and several hundreds others have been subjected to various forms of inhuman and degrading acts of violence,” she said adding it is sad that we want to eliminate our source of wisdom.
According to the Minister, violence against the elderly has become a national pandemic and a shame to the society which affects sustainable development.
She said her Ministry in conjunction with the Ministry of Justice are working hard to have the National Older Persons Bill that will provide for stiffer penalties to perpetrators of violence against the elderly once passed in Parliament.
“I wish to assure the nation that we will continue to fight against the violence and abuse of older persons in the country and thrive to ensure that older persons enjoy their fundamental human rights,” said the Minister.
She appealed to members of the public to refrain from taking part in barbaric acts against the elderly and ensure that they have the respect and dignity that they deserve.
The Minister also called on the police and the judiciary to make sure that perpetrators of violence attacks against the elderly are brought to book.
Head of Programmes at Malawi Network of Older Persons (MANEPO), Linda Matita concurred with the Minister that there is need to ensure that such cases are concluded in the courts.
“The elderly, just like anybody else have a right to life, let us make sure that we create a safe environment for them,” she said.
Director of Disability and Elderly rights at the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC), Wycliff Masoo also shared the concern that most of the cases involving attacks on the elderly are not concluded in time.
“The continued attacks and killing of elderly people in the country reflects badly on the country, we will work hand in hand with the Ministry of Justice to ensure that the law takes its course on the perpetrators,” he said