NAIROBI, Kenya Feb 23- Members of the National Assembly paid tribute to Juja MP the late Francis Munyua Waititu who succumbed to brain cancer on Monday.
Speaker of the House Justin Muturi led the Members in observing a moment of silence and proceeded to pay personal tributes to their departed colleague.
“You will agree with me that the late Member was consistent in introducing and supporting legislation on the improvement of the agricultural sector and ease of doing business. This nation has lost a progressive, a trusted and a devoted community leader whose efforts reflected the interests of his constituents,” Muturi said.
House Majority Leader Amos Kimunya and Garissa Township MP Adan Duale said Waititu was a friendly colleague who worked hard through his Bills to that were focused on development.
“This house has lost a great leader and I hope we will give our friend and colleague a befitting sendoff,” said Duale.
Kimunya recalled how the late MP “made friends with everyone and he was never shy to speak about his health, unlike most people who tend to hide and suffer in silence. By opening up, he was able to live with the condition and internalize it.”
Minority Leader John Mbadi raised concerns at the high rate cancer was killing Kenyans saying Parliament should fast track Bills on tackling cancer.
“We need to look at the health sector to be able to address this issue of cancer. I can tell you that the number of people dying in this country because of cancer cannot be counted. Cancer is widespread and we need a policy direction from a national government level,” Mbadi said.
Several sitting and former MPs, Senators and Governors have died of cancer in recent years.
A Bill by Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga tabled in 2019 seeks to have the Cancer Prevention and Control Bill amended to classify cancer as a component under primary health care.
Wanga who was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2014 said the disease has become a major killer in the country because it is diagnosed late when it has advanced.
“Chair this bill is so personal to me because I am speaking from experience. I was diagnosed with cancer and before diagnosis, I could not tell what I was suffering from because sometimes the disease is there, and you do not feel pain. The main issue is that many people have been misdiagnosed because even the doctors themselves cannot tell from the onset that someone has cancer,” she said when she appeared before the National Assembly health committee on July 2, 2019.
“When I sought treatment outside the country, the simple things that a nurse was able to do there, can also be done here but we need to make it a primary healthcare to avoid late diagnosis which in turn becomes difficult to treat leading to deaths which would have been prevented.”
In a raft of proposals that she presented before the Health Committee, Wanga further advocated for the training of more Oncologists to deal with cancer.