Mothers who put the needs of their children before theirs are very honourable. That was the case with Kwale Women Rep Zuleikha Hassan, a mother of three who decided to bring to work her youngest child after she was unable to find a sitter.
Upon walking into the chambers with her five-month-old daughter, a security guard stopped her from taking her baby into the chamber but she insisted on being with her daughter. In a video that made rounds on social media, security guards gathered around the MP as she held onto her baby, and Deputy Speaker Christoper Omulele repeatedly ordered her out of the chamber.
“Honorable Zuleikha kindly withdraw with decorum… Honorable Zuleikha you are out of order,” the deputy speaker is heard saying.
According to Zuleikha, the incident was another reminder for the government and the public sector to provide family-friendly workspaces for mothers. She said Parliament lacks a daycare centre, though it had promised to provide one in 2013.
“I was just tired. I mean young women all over the country are facing worse situations. They can’t afford a nanny, and they have to decide whether they should breastfeed their child or go to work. Private companies have such provisions, but as the highest lawmaking body of the country, really we should be an example.
Following her outcry, the parliament opened up a creche for its members who are mothers, to help them in performing their duties effectively while raising their families in the best manner.
Parliament's crèche opened to the media after the morning drama that saw Kwale Women Rep Zulekha Hassan kicked out of the chambers with her 5-month-old baby pic.twitter.com/LKPiS0dh8g
— Citizen TV Kenya (@citizentvkenya) August 7, 2019
While this move is progressive in addressing some of the challenges breastfeeding mothers face, what about the rest of them in government institutions and cannot bring their children to work?