Kenyan lawmaker walked out of parliament for bringing her baby along

In recent times, in advanced democracies like Europe, women have made headlines for bringing their babies and breastfeeding them in the parliament.

In 2017, Larissa Waters, an Australian lawmaker stood to pass a motion in parliament while she had her baby to her breast.

Waters made history as the first woman to breastfeed a child in the Australian parliament.

Larissa Waters

Before her, Icelandic member of parliament, Unnur Bra Konradsdottir, in 2016 and her Spanish counterpart, Carolina Bescansa, made similar headlines.

And a Kenyan lawmaker, Zulekha Hassan, thought she can replicate that same story in Africa – but she was wrong.

Zulekha was on Wednesday asked out of the Kenyan national assembly for coming with her baby.

The speaker of the house, Chris Omulele, ordered her to leave, saying her actions are unprecedented.

Speaking to journalists after the incident, Zulekha said she had to bring her baby to plenary because she had an emergency.

She explained that she has had three children since she joined the parliament in 2013 and she has never had to go to work with her child.

“I had an emergency and I had to come to work. Today we have two sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon and the parliamentary service commission in 2013 passed that we should have a room, a creche where we can put our babies for breastfeeding staff,” Hassa said.

“You know now that you ask more women to come into parliament, you have to provide a family-friendly atmosphere at work. This is my third baby in parliament and I have never done this. I have really tried not to come with a baby.

“Today, I had an emergency so what was I supposed to do? Miss parliament and miss my duties just because of a baby? So, that was why I just came with her I knew I would stay here for just a while but if there was a creche I would be able to then put my baby. And she is still breastfeeding and I would like to breastfeed her for as long as I can.”Asked if she was trying to pass a message, Zulekha described coming with her daughter to work as an isolated happenstance.

“No no. This is my third child and I have never done this. This is my second term, I have been here since 2013. Today, there was no other way. It like I am being punished for having a baby and it is a very natural process,” she said.

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