SIBBINDA – The international day of older persons, meant to raise awareness on the plight of senior citizens, was observed in the Zambezi Region at Sibbinda, about 80 kilometres west of Katima Mulilo. Elderly persons gathered in droves to talk about issues affecting their livelihood while at the same time celebrating their achievements.
Sibbinda Constituency Councillor, Ignatius Chunga, who was the guest speaker at the event organised by social workers of the Ministry of Health and Social Services as well the Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF), in conjunction with the pensioner’s association noted that the elderly needed to be included in development programmes at any level. “This is a day aimed at raising awareness on issues affecting senior citizens. They should not be left behind in development programmes. Government ministries, the private sector and non-governmental organisations must include senior citizens and acknowledge the role they play in society,” said Chunga.
According to Chunga the elderly encompass a wealth of wisdom and therefore leaving them behind would be counterproductive. “We should not see the elderly as burdens. Among them are teachers, farmers, leaders, consultants and others. They have contributed immensely in our society and they continue doing so. We should ensure their protection,” noted Chunga.
He further appealed for improvement in access to health for older persons. Chunga was however disappointed by the growing trend of alcohol abuse among the elderly, adding that the elderly are often taken advantage of by sheeben owners who lure them into coming back for more by offering alcohol on credit.
“The issue of concern is alcohol abuse where some of the elderly people use their pension money to buy alcohol instead of food and clothing. Some sheeben owners even keep their pension cards so that they get beer on credit. This is wrong and those doing so, the law will catch up with you soon,” warned the Sibbinda councillor.
Similar sentiments were expressed by the chairperson of the pensioners’ association Boniface Limbo, who said indunas in the villages need to tackle the matter further. “We have heard of this trend of robbing the elderly. A lot of people are enriching themselves leaving the pensioners dry. We just hope that the law will take its course. We would also like to appeal to village indunas to do something about this matter,” implored Limbo.
Limbo was also concerned by another worrying trend where grandchildren are often left with the elderly for their care and upkeep.
“The pension money is meant to help old people meet their daily needs but these days you have these young parents leaving their children with the elderly to take care of them. And some of them don’t even support their parents,” complained Limbo. New Era Reporter
2014-10-27 07:52:56 | 5 years ago