By Moses Nyirenda
Lilongwe, October 1, Mana: Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare, Patricia Kaliati said through her ministry government is committed to promoting the welfare of older persons in the country in order for them to enjoy their elderlyhood.
The Minister made the remarks on Thursday during the commemoration of International Day of Older Persons which was held at Phatha Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Chadza in Lilongwe district.
Kaliati said older persons in the country are facing various challenges hence the government is devoted to supporting them.
“As government, we have seen that older persons in the country are facing a lot of challenges which include lack of food and good houses, for this reason government is committed to addressing these challenges by supporting the elderly so that they should live better life,” Kaliati said.
She added that, government is geared to implement programs aimed at promoting welfare of older persons which include; introduction of pension scheme for older persons as well as creation of policies that would help protect the rights of older people in the country.
She also said that, government wishes to make sure that older persons are protected and respected in the country.
“It is the wish of the government to make sure that older persons are protected and respected so that they should enjoy their elderlyhood and live like any citizen of the country,” she said.
Further, she cautioned people who abuse older people saying that they will be brought to book once they have been caught.
“I am telling you people that whoever is going to call older people witches or whoever is going to kill them, will be punished.
“It is by law that those who victimize older persons should face the law and I am calling upon all security personnel to arrest people who are not respecting the elderly,” she explained.
In his comment, Malawi Network of Older Persons Organisations (MANEPO) Executive Director, Andrew Kavala said his organisation is also looking forward to reaching out to a lot of older persons in the remotest areas of the country with the support that would improve their welfare.
He also said that, his organisation envisions a society in which the rights of older men and women are protected and promoted in order to improve their quality of life.
During the commemoration, the minster also visited households of older persons in Phatha Village where she interacted with them and appreciated the challenges which they are facing.
One of the elderly women who were visited, Therenji Kapeni aged 90 commended the minister for visiting her saying that she is currently facing various challenges such as, lack of food and good shelter, such that the minister’s visit had given her hope that her problems would be addressed.