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State raises alarm over abuse of elderly

By Lonah Kibet | June 16th 2015 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

From right Assistant director social  development,Ministry of Labour Mary Kimathi talks to 77year old Wairimu Warui as TV Presenter Gikurumi wa Nyambura looks during the commemoration of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day At KICC. [PHOTO/DAVID GICHURU/STANDARD]

The Government is concerned about the high rate of reported abuse and mistreatment of the elderly in the country.

Labour Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo said the elderly were subjected to a lot of suffering and neglect including murder, robbery, discrimination, sexual abuse and denial of food.

"Heart-breaking stories are reported in the local media where older persons have been targeted and killed on baseless accusations of practising witchcraft. Many more of these cases go unreported and hidden from authorities," she added.

Counties identified as having high rates of neglect and abuse of the elderly include Kilifi, Kwale, Nyamira, Tana River and Kirinyaga.

The CS said the older generation should not be swept aside on the basis of their age, but that their wisdom should be utilised for the development of the country, which has been overtaken by individualism and materialism.

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She made the remarks yesterday at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre during the commemoration of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day themed 'Stand Up Against Older Persons Abuse.'

She said the Government had embarked on improving policies and programmes benefiting the elderly through partnerships. She said inadequate data on the abuse of older people was hampering activities aimed at positively impacting their lives.

"My ministry in conjunction with other partners has embarked on an exercise to map out data needs of key organisations on older persons with a view to identifying existing gaps for policy and programme action," said Ms Omamo.

HelpAge International Country Director Geoffrey Maganya revealed that 85 per cent of the elderly faced abuse. He added that 261 were murdered between 2013 and 2014.

"That represents those found in the mortuary. Imagine how many cases go unreported," said Mr Maganya.

Bomet Senator Wilfred Lesan said he had submitted a bill before Senate aimed at protecting the elderly.

TV presenter Gikurumi wa Nyambura expressed disappointment with the younger generation, saying most were heading for the gutter due to drugs, alcohol and crime. He warned if nothing was done, "a time will come when there will be no replacement of the elderly".

fund for elderly jubilee government elderly Labour Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo
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