MISA Malawi, MANEPO sign pact to promote rights of elderly persons

Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA) Malawi Chapter and Malawi Network of Older Persons Organization (MANEP) on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) aimed at promoting rights of elderly persons through increased reportage on their plight.

The understanding comes amidst increased cases of mob justice against the elderly on suspicion that they practice witchcraft and other evil-related myths.

Kavala (left) and Ndanga signing the agreement as MISA Malawi National Coordinator Aubrey Chikungwa looks on–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu

MANEPO Executive Director Andrew Kavala disclosed that 15 elderly people have been killed in Malawi since January this year.

“The increase in mob justice cases and those being stoned to death in the country is clear evidence that Malawi is still not a welcoming environment for older people,” said Kavala.

He said the most disheartening thing is that the Malawi Parliament continues to ignore discussing the Elderly Persons Bill, which, if passed into law, would help protect the country’s elderly citizens.

Kavala said it is for this reason that his organization thought of collaborating with the media to expose institutional and governance challenges that expose elderly people to abuse.

“We have documented a number of killings in which victims were accused of witchcraft simply because they were elderly, and the agreement with MISA Malawi will aid in promoting the rights of older people by focusing on their stories.

“So, MANEPO will provide resources to MISA Malawi to enable it to recognise and award individual journalists who have contributed to informing, educating, and raising awareness about issues affecting the elderly in Malawi through their news reporting and programming,” he narrated.

MISA Malawi Chapter Chairperson Teresa Ndanga said the agreement will help in improving the gaps that existed because journalists will now be working hand in hand with MANEPO to cover the gaps that have led to the infringement of older people’s rights.

“We will now have a human rights category covering older persons looking at the originality of a story, impact, and consistency among other things,” she explained. I admit that we may not have been doing well in reporting issues concerning older persons, but this will enable journalists to focus more knowing that at the end of the day their stories might win,” she said.

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