Kenyan female MP kicked out of Parliament after walking in with baby

Africa
Addressing the press after leaving the chambers, Kwale Woman Rep Zuleika Hassan (right) in company of other women MPs address the press outside National Assembly chambers after she was ejected for entering the House with her five-month-old baby. PHOTO |

NAIROBI, Kenya - Morning proceedings of the National Assembly on Wednesday were temporarily brought to a standstill after Kwale Woman Representative Zuleika Hassan entered the chambers with her five-month-old baby.

Christopher Omulele, who was serving as the speaker, ordered Hassan to withdraw from the chamber saying it is not the right place to take care of her child.

A section of male MPs and the women lawmakers, however, supported Hassan urging her to stay put causing a standstill within the chambers.

The speaker called the sergeant-at-arms to evict Hassan who by then was being shielded by her female counterparts.

“As much as she has a right to take care of her child, this not the right place, I, therefore, direct that you immediately withdraw from the chambers,” ordered Omulele.

EMERGENCY

Addressing the press after leaving the chambers, Hassan in the company of other women MPs said she got an emergency this morning and had to come with the baby to Parliament.

“I had an emergency and decided not to miss work but come with the baby. She is not an atomic bomb and can’t explode,” Hassan said.

MPs in 2013 passed a motion directing the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) to set aside a room within Parliament buildings for breastfeeding mothers. This is yet to be done six years later.

CRECHE

Ijara MP Sophia Abdi Noor said it is unfortunate that such an incident could happen in Parliament where laws are made and wondered of the fate of working mothers in the country.

“This child has a right, if they don’t establish a breastfeeding room then we will urge all women with breastfeeding children to come with their children in the chambers so as to send a message,” Noor said.

Kitui South MP Rachel Nyamai questioned why the PSC has failed to give priority to young mothers by setting up a crèche.

“This child has a right to be with the mother and we don’t understand why she is being sent away,” Nyamai said.

Laikipia North legislator Sarah Korere accused PSC of ignoring the plight of nursing mothers saying exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months is very important.

“Lawmakers must lead by example and today we are saying enough is enough,” Korere said.

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