THE minister of Social Development, ‘Matebatso Doti, has condemned the violent killings and abuse of older persons around the country.
Ms Doti expressed her disgruntlement at the recently held International Day of Older Persons commemorations in Thaba-Tseka where she appealed to the public to care for and protect older people.
She said older persons are champions of human rights which the younger generations are enjoying hence they should be protected as opposed to being killed and abused by their own children.
Ms Doti’s statements come on the back of the brutal killing of an 83-year-old woman supposedly for ritual purposes in the Mafeteng district. ‘Masefali Mporoane, of Malealea, was found dead by her nephew Molikeng Mporoane in the morning of 16 September 2018.
Ms Mporoane was killed a fortnight before the world commemorates the International Day of Older Persons which is celebrated annually on 1 October.
This year’s commemoration will focus on celebrating older persons as pioneers of human rights under the theme ‘Celebrating Older Human Rights Champions’.
Ms Doti said communities have to come together and fight for the wellbeing of older people.
“It is everyone’s responsibility to care and protect older persons in society and it is time we fight hard for their well-being since they brought us up and fought for our rights,” Ms Doti said.
“We appeal to the youth to stop the abuse of older persons in society.”
Ms Doti said her ministry is working hard to educate the public about the sicknesses that come with old age to ensure that older persons are well taken care of.
“Ill health also puts older persons at the risk of abuse and killings. We have also heard cases where some are accused of witchcraft and are murdered and that is wrong.”
For her part, Tsebo Lerotholi, pleaded with the society to protect older persons and urged the communities to exercise extreme patience when dealing with older people.
She said it was also shocking that in some communities, older persons are targeted by criminals because of the M700 grants which they receive from the government monthly. She said some have been murdered for such money.
“We need to be protected against such evil deeds. We also need protection when we draw our wills,” Ms Lerotholi said.
Ms Lerotholi said it was also important chiefs and councilors to get training on the challenges that the elderly face so that they in turn teach their communities.
“Such training will be helpful because the community will now understand us better and they will appreciate instead of labelling us witches,” Ms Lerotholi said.
The gruesome murder of Ms Mporoane is the latest in the long series of violence and killings of women and children which continue to taint the history of this country.
On 23 July this year, five women were murdered in cold blood in the Ha-Mokauli village, some 25 kilometres south of the capital, Maseru.
At about 6pm on that fateful evening, the sound of gunfire sent the villagers scurrying for cover behind and below anything that could shelter them.
The loud gunshots lasted for about 30 minutes and thereafter there was an eerie silence. When the shocked villagers finally came out of their hiding places, they were met with the gruesome sight of the five bodies of women who had been gunned down in their own homes. Another woman was writhing in pain together with a two-year-old toddler who had a bullet lodged in her arm.
The gunmen had already disappeared without a trace, leaving no explanation for the trail of corpses, blood, orphaned children and broken-hearted families.
Police spokesperson Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli recently said that no arrests have been made in connection with the murders and the police were still following the leads to find the killers.
In January this year, the Ntširele community in Khubetsoana, Maseru was shocked by the brutal murder of prominent businesswoman ‘Mathabang Radiile (53), allegedly by her live-in partner, Lebohang Nkuebe (41).
Ms Radiile’s four months old grand-daughter was seriously injured after being sprayed with acid in one of the most gruesome cases of women and child abuse in Lesotho.
Mr Nkuebe subsequently appeared in court over the murder and the case is still on-going.
Last year, there were several cases of the killings of women and children that were reported. The violence and killings are part of wider global scourge which the World Bank says affects one in every three women.
In April this year, the World Bank published an article which showed that globally, as many as 38 percent of murders of women are committed by an intimate partner.