A KENYAN MP carried her five months old baby girl to the bafflement of her colleagues and the nation.
Kwale Women Representative Zuleika Hassan, a mother of three, woke up to an emergency while she had two sittings/meetings in Parliament that demanded her presence.
She quickly prepared her five months old baby for a day in Parliament, something she had never done with her first and second born.
This being unprecedented in the country when she entered the chambers, the Majority Leader and Garissa MP Aden Duale suddenly cut short his submission.
Among other things, MP Duale said, “Hon. Zuleika must be cited for gross misconduct…The house cannot continue with its business with 349 and a half members (the half being the baby).”
MP Kicked out of Parliament
Sadly, Hon. Zuleika was kicked out of the house by the Serjeant-at-arms, together with her baby.
Once outside, Hon. Zuleika defended her actions: “An emergency was the reason I carried the baby to Parliament. This is my third baby in Parliament. I have never carried the first or second born to the House but an emergency pushed me to carry her. I did not want to miss Parliament or my duties since we had two meetings.”
“If there was a room for me to place my baby, I would not have gone into the chambers with her. It is unfortunate that I have been punished for having a baby, and it is a never natural process.”
Homabay Town MP Peter Kaluma defended her saying that she should not be separated from her newborn baby. Medics recommend that babies should exclusively breastfeed for six months to strengthen their immune system before they are weaned using different foods.
Hon. Zuleika is not the first woman in leadership to carry a newborn to Parliament. Others are Australian MP Larisa Water, Canadian Minister Karina Gould, and Iceland MP Unnur Bra Konradsdottir.
World Breastfeeding Week
Let us normalise breastfeeding so women do not feel they have to hide when on the bus, hotel, church and any other public space.
This happened during celebrations of the World Breastfeeding Week 2019 (August 1-7) when breastfeeding is encouraged to improve the health of babies across the world.
Happy Breastfeeding Week!