Forgotten Reserves- A Plea for Dignity in Aging- Kenya

An elderly woman beaming with hope- India

An elderly woman beaming with hope- India

The Invisible Faces of Kenya

A plea for dignity in the aging. In the quiet aftermath of my grandmother’s passing, an untouched aquifer of emotions surged within me, revealing an oil reserve buried deep in my heart—a reserve uniquely mine to explore and share with the world.

As I contemplated the legacy my grandmother left behind, a poignant realization dawned upon me. Time, relentless and indifferent, waited for no one. My grandmother, at the age of 96 (though she seemed even older), bequeathed a rich heritage spanning five generations. Her journey, however, unveiled a disheartening reality that echoes across the aging landscape.

Today, I observe elderly men and women, aged above 70, toiling tirelessly to meet ends that seem to stretch further with each passing day. In the pursuit of survival, they return home to meager monthly stipends—merely Ksh 2,000—from a government seemingly blind to the marathon of urban life endured by those who built our foundations.

The shame lies not in the struggles of our elderly but in the policies forged by leaders who amass extravagant allowances while neglecting those who paved the way for our existence. How can we justify the stark disparity between the meager retirement funds of our parents and the opulent allowances pocketed by policymakers who sit comfortably in halls of power?

What really matters?

A government boasting a surplus of Ksh 700,000 salaries, coupled with generous allowances, yet offering a paltry Ksh 2,000 to its elderly citizens is a stain on our societal fabric. It’s time to question the ethics of a system that prioritizes the well-being of a privileged few over the dignity of those who built our nation.

The elders, confined to poverty and declining health, grapple with a system that taxes without reciprocation. A simple calculation reveals that it costs a mere Ksh 24,000 to sustain an elderly individual above 70, while MPs luxuriate in allowances ranging from Ksh 20,000 to 75,000 for a handful of parliamentary sittings. The scales are tipped, and the injustice is glaring.

Amidst grand housing projects and ambitious endeavors, a plea resonates—an appeal for the government to bridge the social chasm dividing the elderly from the working class. Sacrificing a fraction of personal comfort for the well-being of our aging population should be the mark of a compassionate society.

 

The Future…

I am willing to bear the weight of additional taxes if it means redirecting those funds towards the betterment of our elders. Let the halls of power echo with the voices of advocates for change, demanding the repeal of laws that perpetuate inequality. The time has come to redefine equality in our nation, where the elderly no longer languish in poverty but live out their golden years in dignity.

Politicians, take heed. The strong men of today will inevitably become the elderly of tomorrow. As architects of our collective destiny, let us forge a narrative that ensures our shared future—a future where the rights and freedoms we champion for today extend to every generation, young and old alike.

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