Some political and civic society leaders in Matabeleland have applauded MDC-T vice-president Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe for revealing she was battling with breast cancer.
They said the disclosure was a show of strength and political maturity.
Zapu spokesperson Methuseli Moyo said: “We wish everyone, especially politicians, would copy and follow Khupe’s example, especially men who are older than her.
“We wish that President Robert Mugabe’s doctor would come out and tell us how fit or unfit the President is because we have heard a lot of stories about his sickness.”
MDC-N Bulawayo provincial spokesperson Edwin Ndlovu said the example that Khupe had set should be followed by other politicians.
“There is need for other politicians to reveal their illnesses and not to politicise illness. Khupe is not our enemy, she is only a political opponent and we will meet in the next election when she has become stronger,” he said.
A member of the civic society organisations community in Bulawayo, who refused to be named, said Khupe’s stance would bear positive results for people suffering from chronic diseases.
“There has been more concentration on HIV and Aids at the expense of other dangerous diseases. This would encourage balance of advocacy on chronic illnesses such as cancer that have been neglected,” she said.
At the weekend, during the MDC-T rally at White City Stadium in Bulawayo, Khupe put up a brave face and told supporters her sickness would not weaken her as she would be healed.
“From now on, I am going to be a serious advocate for breast cancer so that I can prove that the disease, if fought, can be overcome,” she said.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai paid tribute to Khupe and said a few people would have the courage to admit they had a disease or an illness because hiding it was the easiest choice.
“I salute Thokozani Khupe for her courage because admitting that she has an illness is a strong development which a few, if any, people would admit to,” he said.