SOMETHING should be done fast about the 79-year-old woman of Lusaka’s Chaisa compound whose house collapsed and has been rendered destitute.
Ms Rhoda Njovu’s house collapsed last rainy season and to make matters worse, her only son who used to take care of her died leaving her in the same house to fend for herself.
Understandably, life has been a nightmare for the septuagenarian who has been struggling to to pay rent as well as to buy food.
The only solution: to beg and beg for a living. It is very unfortunate that a senior citizen had been left to become destitute in a country that not only prides itself as a Christian nation but where some people throw away left over food.
We salute the councillor, Mr Teddy Mwaba, who since the old lady’s house collapsed, took it upon himself to foot the rental bills for the house where she was now living.
While Mr Mwaba may not have been paying consistently during these hard times, resulting in the house accumulating arrears of K3,000, we commend the civic leader for the help he has been rendering to the elderly woman.
Unfortunately, she was given until Tuesday to pay the K3,000 outstanding arrears, as Mr Mwaba had only managed to pay a K1,000.
This is what the values of Ubuntu and the Holy Bible demand.
Even the Lord Jesus in his great teachings in (Matthews 25: 36) sums it up this way: For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you took Me in, I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you visited Me.’…
And (Isaiah 58:7) too collaborates this as follow:
“Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, to bring the poor and homeless into your home, to clothe the naked when you see him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?”
But this doesn’t seem to be the case with Ms Njovu’s situation who appears to have been abandoned by society.
And herein lies the question, is Mr Mwaba the only Chaisa resident who is willing to help the old woman, where are the neigbhours and the rest of society?
Yes, she has a roof over her head, at least for now! But where and how is she expected to source food in her frail state?
This is where the government through the Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare should come in to help with relief food or with social cash transfer funds.
We have no doubt the old lady qualifies to be put on social cash transfer initiative which is managed by the Ministry of Community Development.
If so, why hasn’t the councillor who has been instrumental in helping her, bring her plight to the attention of the ministry and the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) all this while?
Regardless of how and why she found herself in this situation, the septuagenarian does not deserve to lead such an appalling life.
The same applies to many other senior citizens who are suffering like her. This is unacceptable.
Elsewhere, in South Africa and other countries elderly people get monthly pensions or stipends to keep them going and prevent them from becoming destitute by nature of being senior citizens.
Here in Zambia, Ms Njovu and many others like her, are supposed to be beneficiaries of the social cash transfer scheme and should never become destitute.
One can only wonder why she was left out on the social cash transfer scheme.
We therefore appeal to the Ministry of Community Development and DMMU to quickly intervene in Ms Njovu’s plight, if not the nation will have failed to live up to the values of Ubuntu and to the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ.