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Senior citizens condemn killings


Limpho Sello

THE Maseru Women Senior Citizens Association (MWSCA) has condemned the spate of killings and abuse of elderly persons and young women in the country, saying they are living in fear of their lives as a result.

The MWSCA, which was established in 1997 by a group of elderly women in Maseru West, recently celebrated its 20th anniversary as well as the International Day of Older Persons which is observed annually on 1 October.

The organisation was established with the aim of providing entertainment to the elderly and to enable them to share their life experiences.

Over the years, MWSCA has become a recipient of local and international donor funds to engage in several projects such as training elderly women who care for orphans and vulnerable children affected by HIV/AIDS.

The organisation also conducts campaigns to create awareness on the importance of caring for senior citizens.

Mabatho Mosoeunyane, an MWSCA member, yesterday told the Sunday Express that the celebrations were held against the background of worrying developments where elderly persons continued to be killed and abused on unfounded accusations.

“We are very much concerned about the abuse and killings of senior citizens in our country and we therefore appeal for a strong advocacy against those brutal killings,” Ms Mosoeunyane said.

“One of our duties is to advocate for the rights of elderly women and we also call on the public to make noise and advocate for the wellbeing of the elderly.

“Most of the crimes happen within families and they are committed by our children and grandchildren. The sad part is keeping the abuse a secret.

“We are often afraid to speak out because the same children who abuse also provide for us. They support us financially so there is always fear of being abandoned even though we need to speak out and protect ourselves.”

Asked how the abuse has affected their self-esteem and confidence, Ms Mosoeunyane said: “We take ageing as great blessing from God, as the Ten Commandments say; ‘Honor your father and your mother that your days may be long in the land the Lord your God is giving you’. Our aging is a blessing because we respected our parents therefore we have to be grateful instead of being worried.”

“Yes, the perpetrators make us live in fear but if our children want to live longer they also need to respect the elderly.”

Makeketsi Molefe, who spoke on behalf of the children of senior citizens, commended MWSCA for its vital role in uplifting the lives of senior citizens of Maseru.

“The association has helped them to unite to share ideas and life experiences because it can be very difficult for them to share certain things with us as their children.

“It is a wonderful platform that helps them to open up about everything and not bottle their fears and worries,” Ms Molefe said.

She said some senior citizens suffered from age-related illnesses such as dementia which caused them to forget so many issues but organisations like MWSCA helped to save and look after their money which would otherwise be stolen from them by their relatives.

“As youth and children, we call for the protection of senior citizens from the killings and abuse. We wish MWSCA another 20 years of uplifting the elderly community around the country,” she said.


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