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Govt neglecting us, senior citizens lament

Senior Citizens in Bulawayo say the government has neglected them, accusing the Minister of Finance and Economic Development of not considering them in the 2020 national budget.

Finance Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube presented the national budget last month which was benchmarked at ZWL$28. 5 billion.

Speaking during a Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) post-budget consultative meeting, Tuesday, some elderly members of the city said the national budget was silent on their needs.

“ People are talking about the youth and other sectors, there is one thing that the Minister (Professor Mthuli Ncube) forgot, the elderly people, pensioners no one takes care of them, be it in the budget they are not mentioned,” said Esnath Manyawu.

“In our country when you retire, they do not look at you, old people now rely on churches for help.”

She said the situation is now burdening churches as this is something that the government should prioritise.

“Old people now run to churches for help, that is where they now manage to get make a 5kg bag of mealie meal, salt, and other small foodstuffs, churches are now overburdened by the work that should be done by the government,” Manyawu claimed.

“When NSSA was introduced way back, I was one of the people who voiced and it worked, we supported families and sent children to school but today my heart is heavy because of corruption.

“It is saddening for to hear that Mpfumira abused millions and millions belonging to NSSA when senior citizens sleep outside the Post Office waiting for their meagre payouts,” she said.

 Manyawu added: “As senior citizens, we are forgotten, the budget is silent on the elderly, if we visit other countries, we get the benefits they have for elderly people be it medical benefits or even financial benefits but in my own country no one recognizes the elderly”.

“Old people are dying every day due to failure to secure money for medication, at one time the Government promised us that old people are going to get free treatment but that has not even fulfilled. Even on the budget it is not there,” she said.

ZCC programmes officer, Admire Mutizwa said the church is needed to address the moral aspect of society.

“In the meeting, we had with the auditor general she said she now thinks that we now need the church to address the moral aspect of society, it is no longer about any other issues but about the moral question.

“We have got people who find it very ethical to take all the money when there is an old person who struggles to access the little money, so it is now beyond normal,” said Mutizwa.

“Remember when we speak about corruption 81.5 percent of our country are Christians, so when we talk about the government, parliament they are people who are Christians, even people who abuse funds are Christians.

“So, I stand to say the church has a very important role to play, the church is overburden as everyone runs there when things are not well, even hospitals or schools if they are not going well, they run to missions,” said Mutizwa.

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