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Kenya: How lactating MP sneaked baby into parliament

On Wednesday Kenya’s Presiding Speaker Chris Omulele asked orderlies to throw out Kwale Woman representative, Zulekha Hassan for entering the chambers with her 5- month old son.

There was drama in the Kenyan National Assembly when a lactating legislator was forced out of the chamber.

The legislator had opposed the speaker’s action arguing that she came to breastfeed the baby while attending to the house business.

But the speaker ordered that she be thrown out, ruling that the chamber is not the right place to do it.

Hassan has been talking about how she sneaked into parliament with her baby and the motivation.

She is reported by the Daily Nation as saying that on Tuesday evening she learnt her nanny would not be available.

So with no intentions of staying at home and missing her parliamentary duties, she resolved to carry the baby to the Chamber.

“I had to plan how to drive my point home and, sure enough, it was a success. I said this is enough.

Why should I miss work just because I have a baby? This made me reflect that if I don’t do it now, I should forget about it altogether,” she said.

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Backed by her husband

Hasan added that “I called my hubby and explained to him and he gave me the go-ahead.”

So on Wednesday morning, Hassan dressed her baby and set off to work.

“My official car was in Kwale at the time and I decided to take a cab to Bunge,” Ms Hassan said.

She sneaked into the Chambers through the rear entrance, past an absent-minded orderly.

Hassan said “He tried to block me but it was very late. I was already in the Chamber by the time he was pleading. I went straight to the front row where I wanted the Speaker to notice me easily and started breastfeeding my little angel.”

On her removal from the chamber, Hassan said at the time, temporary Speaker Christopher Omulele (Luanda) was on the chair.

“The orderlies came to me in their numbers and requested that I give them the baby. But I told them the baby would cry,” she says.

Mr Omulele ordered Hassan to leave the Chamber immediately, something she says was harsh.

“I believe if it were Mr Muturi, he would have allowed time for other members to have a say on the incident,” she says.

Female MPs walked out of the parliament chamber in solidarity with Zulekha Hassan at the time.

Kenyan MPs in 2013 passed a motion directing the Parliamentary Service Commission to provide a room for breastfeeding mothers but that has not been done.


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