Kenyan parliament went under the state of fuss after a female member was asked to walk out of the ongoing session for bringing her young child at work.
The parliamentarians started to protest the decision of temporary speaker of parliament’s lower house, Christopher Omulele, who ejected Zuleikha Hassan with her five-month-old baby.
Debate on resolving the border conflict with neighboring Somalia was happening in the House while the incident took place. According to the local newspaper, the speaker halted the session for a few minutes to remove Hassan.
Zuleikha Hassan claimed she had no other option than to bring her child to the parliament, as she couldn’t find an alternative. Also, she did not want to skip work.
On the other hand, Parliament Speaker Christopher Omulele, ruled out the justification. Calling it an unprecedented move, and ordered her removal from the session.
Omulele said, “As much as she might want to take care of her child, this is not the place for it.”
The move didn’t go down well with the MPs, and they opposed her dismissal, which was coincidentally timed with the World Breastfeeding Week.
Hassan said, “Now as we ask for more women to come into parliament, you need to provide a family-friendly atmosphere.”
In support of Hassan, Homa Bay town MP Peter Kaluma said, “If you are a member of parliament who is breastfeeding, in the best interest of that child, the child cannot be separated from you when you are in the course of your duty in the assembly.”
Some MPs backed the speaker’s decision and among them was majority leader Aden Duale, who said Hassan was “out of order”, and her decision to bring her child to the session amounted to “gross misconduct”.
According to a bill passed in 2007, Kenyan employers are entitled to provide a dedicated area for mothers at work to change and breastfeed their young children.