Zimbabwe: A lot of work still to be done to help Zimbabwe’s old people

By Misheck Rusere – While the United Nations General Assembly adopted a landmark resolution on older persons’ rights in November 2010, a local NGO dealing with older persons in Zimbabwe feels a lot still needs to be done.

Help Age Zimbabwe says Zimbabwe was the first African country to craft a bill on older persons in 2002 but up until now nothing has been done with respect to the bill.

“Whilst Help Age Zimbabwe appreciates the stance taken by the United Nations, the organization feels that a lot still needs to be done for older persons in Zimbabwe. In 2002, Zimbabwe was the first African Country to draft a bill for older persons soon after the Madrid International Plan of Ageing that took place in Madrid in 2002. Up until now, the bill has been circulating within the Ministry of Labour and Social Services and the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs,” reads a statement by Help Age Zimbabwe.

Older people in Zimbabwe continue to be treated unfairly despite the country having drafted the bill for older persons almost a decade ago.

HAZ however called on the Government to take the matter seriously by consider the signing of the bill into law and see it being enforced.

“HelpAge Zimbabwe is therefore calling for the government of Zimbabwe to seriously consider signing into law the Bill of older persons in an effort to ease the plight of older persons,” says HAZ in a statement.

Meanwhile the Minster of Labour and Social Services Ms Paurina Mupariwa told parliament that the Public Assistance Fund of which older persons are beneficiaries was to resume soon after the treasury had provided funds to the Ministry.

“The Ministry has not been able to pay public assistance amounts of $20 per head beginning May up to December 2010. However I’m pleased that we have received resources from treasury and we have reactivated the accounts,” she said.

Older people make up a significant population in our communities and form the hub of cultural inheritance as they have the duty to pass cultures to next generations while upholding social values.