JOHANNESBURG – Kenyans are divided over a decision by the Kenyan National Assembly to kick out a member of parliament for breastfeeding her five-month-old baby.
MP Zulekha Hassan was escorted out of parliament on Wednesday by the sergeant-at-arms as she attempted to nurse her baby, leading to a halt in the morning’s parliamentary proceedings, Africa News reported.
Hassan’s actions were termed as “unprecedented” by the speaker while the majority leader termed the action “out of order” and “gross misconduct”.
However, the Woman’s Representative for Kwale in southern Kenya, explained that she had brought her baby into parliament due to an emergency and that if parliament had provided a crèche she would have left her baby there.
Hassan further argued that if Kenya wanted to have more female MPs they needed to be provided with a supportive atmosphere.
The incident has divided opinion on social media where a section of Kenyans, mostly women, berated her removal whiles others insisted her expulsion was a needless furore that she had created.
Breastfeeding in parliament has also been an issue internationally.
Australian Senator Larissa Waters became the first politician to breastfeed in the nation's parliament in 2017 following a backlash in 2015 when Kelly O'Dwyer, a government minister, was asked to consider expressing milk to avoid missing parliamentary duties.
Paving the way for new mothers in parliament New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made history as the first world leader to attend the United Nations general assembly meeting with her baby in tow.
Ardern appeared with her three-month-old daughter Neve and played with her before giving a speech at the Nelson Mandela peace summit in September 2018.
African News Agency (ANA)