Senior citizens fight for their rights

Senior citizens have demanded that their rights be enshrined in the new constitution amid reports that their views were sidelined during the constitution-making.

Senior citizens want their rights to be enshrined in the new constitution.
Senior citizens want their rights to be enshrined in the new constitution.

Senior Citizen Foundation board member, Hannel Saungwene, said his organisation had engaged the COPAC chairpersons in order to have their views and rights featured in the new constitution.

“Our members participated in the constitution-making process, but we were shocked by the reports we received from COPAC that what we suggested did not make sense,” said Saungwene.

Among the things senior citizens are fighting for are social security provision and pensions. Most of the life savings of the elderly are now worthless following the hyperinflation in 2008.

Director of Social Services in the Ministry of Labour and Social Services, Sydney Mhishi, said the senior citizens had a point.

“This is seven percent of our population. They are vulnerable, they have seen a lot and they know that their rights should be respected in the new constitution. The government has failed to pay the pensioners because there is no general consensus of what exchange rate from the Zimbabwe dollars to foreign currency to use,” said Mhishi.

Help Age, a Non-Governmental Organisation which supports senior citizens, said they had communicated with COPAC chair people.

“We talked at length with the constitution select committee, but nothing tangible has materialized. Old people’s issues are not taken seriously,” said Executive Director of Help Age, Priscilla Gavi.

“We are using the data according to the order of occurrence and it is unfortunate that most senior citizens did not participate. This has impacted negatively on those who participated,” said Douglas Mwonzora, co-chairperson of COPAC.

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