In Summary
  • She says that she had no intentions whatsoever to go against the Standing Orders, which govern the conduct of MPs, and other persons inside the Chamber or within the precincts of Parliament.

  • The incident coincided with the breastfeeding week, but the mother of three maintains that she was not aware of the occasion.

  • She says that she has been having problems with who to leave her children, just like any other mother, whenever their nannies call in to say they are sick or have an emergency.

Kwale Woman Representative Zuleikha Juma Hassan says she has no regrets entering the debating Chamber of the National Assembly on Wednesday with her five-month-old baby girl.

The incident was captured by both local and international media. The Chamber is only reserved for 349 elected and nominated members, the Speaker, three clerks and, of course, the sergeant-at-arms.

BREASTFEEDING

Ms Hassan argues that hers was a case of agitating for the issues affecting women, especially the employed, who lack basic amenities like crèches at their work places so that they can attend to their children, including by breastfeeding, whenever needed.

She says that she had no intentions whatsoever to go against the Standing Orders, which govern the conduct of MPs, and other persons inside the Chamber or within the precincts of Parliament. The incident coincided with the breastfeeding week, but the mother of three maintains that she was not aware of the occasion.

She says that she has been having problems with who to leave her children, just like any other mother, whenever their nannies call in to say they are sick or have an emergency.

She says she learnt on Tuesday evening that her nanny would not be available. With no intentions of staying at home and miss 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,” Ms Hassan says.

“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 says adding, “I called my hubby and explained to him and he gave me the go-ahead.”

That Wednesday morning, she 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.

ORDERED OUT

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