ONGWEDIVA – A 93-year-old man is currently fighting for his life at the Oshakati Intermediate Hospital after he was said to have been tortured, starved and emotionally abused by his caretaker.
The shocking abuse lasted for more than a decade, the hospital was told.
Teofilus Lukas is alleged to have suffered a brain tumour and has undergone two brain surgeries after the repeated physical abuse at the hands of his nephew.
Although Teofilus is essentially in the evening of his life given his advanced age, he was allegedly forced by his caretaker to collect water at the neighbours, collect firewood and do other back-breaking house chores, which resulted in beatings if he contested the instructions.
He has allegedly been in and out of hospital since the first brain surgery in October last year and is now lying hopelessly in the hospital.
His daughter, Wilhelmina Lukas, said her father has been in hospital for a week now but is so critical he is unable to speak. Wilhelmina said the tumour was only discovered after he was severely beaten and sustained injuries on the wrist, and suffered a swollen eye and bleeding ear, landing him in hospital last October.
“The doctor’s report that we got was that the tumour seems to have been there two weeks before he was admitted,” said his daughter.
“His suffering is a concern to everybody, at his age he deserved to be well cared for but instead he is tortured,” related one concerned villager.
Another villager said Lukas often roamed around the village and frequented neighbours’ houses where he begged for food.
Wilhelmina related that they could not open a criminal case as the police, after the beating in October, claimed there was no key witness to help investigate the allegations.
The only person who has seen Lukas being beaten is the caretaker’s minor child, police said.
“But this is the child who also testified that our father was beaten with a cooking stick before his hospitalisation in October,” said Wilhelmina.
Although no case was opened, the children managed to get a restriction order against the caretaker to shield their father from further physical torment and abuse at the hands of the nephew.
Wilhelmina pleads with the police to see how best to address scenarios like that of her father in order to protect elders from abuse.
Namibian police spokesperson Deputy Commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi said it is the mandate of the police to investigate offences and alleged offences such as this one, and advised the family to report the matter to the regional commander in their region.
Kanguatjivi said the version of the minor child should have been the starting point for investigations into the matter, with outside sources such as neighbours and the doctor who treated the patient to held collaborate the minor’s version.
“This is hearsay, but how far did they go or how far did they investigate to come to that?” he asked of his colleague’s handling of the matter.