By Synd Kalimbuka
Elderly people from Assan village Group Village Headman Mtwiche in the area of Traditional Authority Malemia in Zomba have called on the community to support and protect them as they experience numerous challenges including witchcraft accusations.
The call was made yesterday when the Member of Parliament for Zomba Malosa constituency Grace Kwelepeta presented Christmas gifts to them.
They appealed to the community to protect them from any form of abuse the elderly people are facing.
Emily Mtukula is one of the elderly people who said the old aged people are facing challenges such as lack of shelters, food and protection on witchcraft allegations.
“We are experiencing different problems with our lives as the ages go on like most of us have nowhere to live where we don’t have houses and also shortage of food as we go days without eating the staple food ‘nsima’,” said Mtukula.
She added that they are sometimes victimized on other issues posing their lives on danger.
“We need to be protected by all stakeholders as our lives are in danger where some people victimise us,” she said.
Joining her fellow elderly people, she commended and thanked Kwelepeta for supporting them with early Christmas gifts they received.
“We thank our honourable Member of Parliament for our area for her kind support towards us. We never have seen a parliamentarian like her before who can leave her job and take time to visit and support us,” she added.
In her remarks when she presented gifts to Malemia Gogos, Kwelepeta said she knows the challenges elderly people face at household level which need extra support from other people.
“My interest is to make sure that elderly people are taken care of and protected from any abuse,” she said.
Kwelepeta also urged them to continue reporting to police when they are victimized.
During the meeting, two elderly people were open and reported on the spot that there are some people in the village who are victimising them by calling them witches.
On this matter, Kwelepeta assured them that she will work hand in hand with police to provide counseling to communities on the matter of witchcraft allegations and victimising elderly people.
The Member of Parliament also promised elderly people that she will work with youth organization in the area to provide them with shelters and other basic needs.
Acting Director for Domasi Anxious Youth Organisation (AYO) Thocco Ching’ande hailed Kwelepeta for support towards elderly persons saying such people indeed face numerous challenges.
Ching’ande said though his organisation tries to help Gogos by maintaining houses and toilets, they need more assistance in terms of food and protection from any abuse.
He further called for well-wishers to come in and join Kwelepeta for the job she is doing in the area in supporting elderly people.
Communities in the area also commended the Member of Parliament for development projects she has been implementing in the area for the past one and half years saying this has given them hope that there will be big change as getting to 2025.
Kwelepeta donated items such as zitenje, tablets of soap, salt and matches as well as money to buy relish to 37 elderly people who came as early Christmas gifts.