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01.10.2004 General News

Political parties fail to show up at aged forum

By GNA

Accra, Oct. 1, GNA - Representatives of all the political parties on Friday failed to show up at a public forum organised by Helpage Ghana (HAG) for them to present their manifestos on the aged, in the run-up to this year's elections.

Mr Ebenezer Adjetey-Sorsey, Director of HAG, told the Ghana News Agency that he personally sent invitation letters to the head offices of all the political parties and those who did not have offices received their invitation letters during their National Delegates' Congresses. "I received assurance from the DPP, CPP and NPP. The rest did not indicate that they were not going to be here so I expected them to be here." Mr Adjetey-Sorsey said the absence of the representatives of the

political parties at the forum was a clear indication that none of them had any clear-cut policy for the aged in their manifestos. "Indeed we have read the manifestos of some of the political parties and none of them contained anything on the aged, although all of them had chapters on women and children," he said. "We knew they had nothing to offer to the aged so we organised this forum to expose them."

Mr Adjetey-Sorsey said it was sad how politicians usually stood on political platforms and made nice but empty pronouncements about their plans for the aged. "This was an opportunity for them to come and show everybody how concrete those pronouncements are but they have failed woefully. "No wonder, we have been gunning for a Policy on the Aged since 1997 and it has not yet been heeded." He noted: "It's about time our politicians and policy makers become more serious with issues concerning the aged in our society."

The forum was also used to launch a two-year Right Programme for the Aged as well as a report on the issue of the provision of pension for older people.

Mr Tavengwa Nhongo, Africa Regional Representative, HAG, said it was cost-effective and affordable to pay pension to older people. "The aged will use the money wisely to benefit relatives and that will in the end address poverty." Mr Nhongo said the aged were the source of good counsel and wisdom; ensuring that generations continued and families were sustained. He said even the poorest country could pay pension money. "It makes sense for us to do it", he said.

Mr Pension Munyama, Regional Programme Coordinator, said old women looked after more than 50 per cent of HIV/AIDS victims and sick people.

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