Tanzania: Earnest Appeal to Curb Elderly People's Killings

THE government has asked more stakeholders to support the war against the killings of elderly people, saying there had been major improvements in eradicating the vice. The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Community development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Dr John Jingu, said yesterday that statistics showed that the number of killings had dropped from 577 in 2014 to 59 last year.

"This is very encouraging but we need to work harder to end the problem completely," he said. The PS was speaking during a stakeholders' meeting to discuss strategies for improving and safeguarding the rights and welfare of Older Persons in the country. The meeting was organised by HelpAge International Tanzania.

He said ending the killings would be possible if stakeholders collaborated in raising funds, offering technical support and by implementing strategies for ending killings of older people as well as rehabilitation of government run homes for elderly people. "I wish to call on people to join forces in securing and promoting the welfare of older persons in our society.

In particular, I call upon the media community to continue reporting on incidences of the shameful killings and educate the public to condemn and shun away from such atrocities. The government will continue to spearhead educational campaigns and ensure legal measures are taken against perpetrators of elderly killings," said the PS.

He added that as the government continued with the construction of new elders' homes and rehabilitation of the existing one, at least 10bn/- is needed for the project. "We are asking stakeholders to support the government in the construction and rehabilitation of the elders' homes across the country," he said.

Head of Diplomatic Affairs in the European Union (EU) Tanzania, Mr Charles Stuart, called for the implementation of a comprehensive legal and policy framework to end discriminatory practices, especially to women who are often victims of witch killings for reasons of inheritance and land rights.

According to him, development interventions, even when they target gender equality and women's empowerment, do not always pay sufficient attention to the needs of elderly women.

Mr Stuart affirmed that the EU supported gender equity throughout its actions in Tanzania, including allocation of over 12bn/- (5m EUR) to projects that support women's equal access to political and public life, land and farming, employment opportunities as well as contributing to Gender based Violence eradication initiatives.

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