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Parliament: Cancer Funding and Other Business

Parliament of Zimbabwe
Business in the House of Assembly was temporarily disrupted Wednesday by chanting MDC-T lawmakers protesting the Speaker Jacob Mudenda’s decision to block lawmaker Sesil Zvidzai’s attempt to move that the assembly investigate whether the disputed July 31st elections met regional standards and guidelines.

MDC-T chief whip Innocent Gonese said the decision by Mr. Mudenda was “unfair” as Mr. Zvidzai had followed all the procedures. Mudenda, for his part, said he had not blocked the motion, but had simply deferred it.

For more than ten minutes, lawmakers from the MDC-T party sang and were joined by many of their Zanu-PF counterparts.

Moments later, lawmakers from both sides of the house debated MDC-T house leader Thokozani Khupe’s motion calling upon the government to introduce a cancer levy and establish cancer treatment units in every district.

Ms. Khupe, who has had cancer herself, said too many women die from breast and cervical cancer, as treatments are not available, accessible or affordable for the vast majority of Zimbabweans. She said the introduction of a levy would save many lives.

Another MDC-T lawmaker, Ruth Labode, said Zimbabwe had vast resources and should be able to treat cancer patients for free.

Lawmakers Joseph Chinotimba and Kenneth Musanhi, among others, also supported the motion but blamed government’s failure to look after cancer patients on economic sanctions they said were invited by the MDC.

Zimbabwe has only two public cancer treatment centres, where machines are often broken down. The centers say they are overwhelmed by overuse, as thousands of cancer patients from all over the country depend on them.

Parliament today also nominated representatives to the Pan African parliament and Southern Africa Development Community Parliamentary Forum, comprising ten lawmakers from all the three political parties in the House of Assembly and Senate.

House Speaker Mudenda announced that in the African parliament, Zanu-PF will be represented by Deputy Senate president Chen Chimutengwende, lawmakers Priscah Mufumira and Jorum Gumbo. MDC-T will be represented by Tapiwa Mashakada. Chief Fortune Charumbira will represent traditional leaders.

Representatives to the SADC parliamentary forum include Senators Monica Mutsvangwa, Tambudzai Mohadi and Samuel Mukanduri, all from Zanu PF. The MDC-T will be represented by the Innocent Gonese. Jasmine Toffa will represent the MDC led by Professor Welshman Ncube.
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