Kuruneri collapses in Parly

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HARARE – Former Finance minister Christopher Kuruneri collapsed during a regular parliamentary session yesterday.

He was said to be suffering from an unspecified medical condition.

The Mt Darwin East Zanu PF legislator, who gets by in the company of a nurse aide, collapsed yesterday afternoon while seated during National Assembly’s plenary session.

Members of Parliament quickly rushed to his aid as the visibly unwell Kuruneri slouched on his seat.

The legislators helped him onto his wheelchair and rolled him outside where cardiac pulmonary resuscitation was performed as aides awaited the arrival of an ambulance.

The sudden collapse of Kuruneri was met with shock in the National Assembly. Kuruneri recently bounced back into public life nearly a decade after he was tossed into the political wilderness following his 2004 arrest on foreign currency externalisation charges that were later thrown out by the High Court.

Kuruneri was arrested in April 2004, and faced seven counts of breaching Zimbabwe’s exchange control laws for allegedly transferring $500 000, 37 000 British pounds, 30 000 euros and 1,2 million South African rands to buy and renovate an eight-bedroomed mansion.

He was also accused of holding dual citizenship, now permissible under the new Constitution.

He spent more than a year in remand prison and after 10 appeals for bail; Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku released him on bail and was later acquitted by the High Court in 2007.

The lawyer who represented him during his ordeal, Jonathan Samkange, is now an independent MP for Mudzi South.

“We are very sorry for what has happened to honourable Kuruneri,” acting Speaker Melody Dziva said.

“We all know he is not feeling well and Parliament is doing all it can to ensure he is assisted.”

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