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Unwell Thokozani Khupe ‘disappears’ from public life

By Tapiwa Svondo

A thick cloud of secrecy has followed former deputy prime minister and CCC Bulawayo women’s representation legislator Thokozani Khupe who is battling a chronic cancer ailment and was last year linked to a medical trip to India after government pledged to foot the expenses.

Khupe, a veteran opposition politician who helped form MDC and later served as the country’s deputy premier, was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2011 and later underwent what appeared to be a successful operation in South Africa.

But her health challenges would later play out again in the public domain when she appeared for swearing-in in parliament last year looking under the weather.

Efforts to contact the politician through her mobile numbers drew blanks as she was not reachable though unconfirmed sources say her health situation is critical.

An attempt to seek comment over her recovery progress through her party CCC also did not yield anything positive as party spokesperson Promise Mkwananzi said she is best to comment about her situation.

“Obviously, we are a party of solidarity. We are in solidarity with our people in good and bad times particularly leaders that have contributed significantly to the movement.

“On the matter of her state of health, I think that is something you have to ask her. We have to respect personal situations of people,” Mkwananzi said.

Government spokesperson Nick Mangwana also declined to comment on Khupe’s medical trip to India last year saying government does not comment on personal health matters.

“I don’t know anything about Thokozani Khupe. Is she in government?” Mangwana said.

“I only comment on public issues.

“These health issues are personal, my suggestion is that you get in touch with the former deputy prime minister and get a comment from her.

“It doesn’t matter whether it’s a public thing that someone is going to this or that, as I said, as government, we do not comment on private individual health matters.”

Khupe was last seen in parliament during swearing-in of new MPs September last year.

Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda was equally evasive over the lawmaker’s commitment to the house.

“Talk to her why ask me talk to her,” Mudenda said.

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