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Lawmaker Gets the Boot After Bringing Baby to Parliament

Zuleika Hassan says there should be childcare in the legislative building
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 8, 2019 2:03 PM CDT

(Newser) – A domestic emergency forced Kenyan lawmaker Zuleika Hassan to bring her 5-month-old to work with her Wednesday, and a lack of childcare in the country's Parliament building forced her to bring the baby all the way into the National Assembly chamber. An uproar resulted, and ended with Hassan getting booted from the chamber. As NBC News explains, Kenya's laws allow the parliamentary speaker to eject any "strangers" (someone neither a lawmaker nor an officer of Parliament) from the chamber. "She may return to the chamber after she withdraws the child," Speaker Christopher Omulele said. He also shouted at one point above the heated arguments, "The Honorable Zuleika, you must get out of the House immediately!"

"If Parliament had a nursery or a creche, I would be able to put my baby there," Hassan told reporters after exiting; several female lawmakers appeared to help her outside. Per the BBC, Hassan called on Parliament to become more family-friendly if it wants more female MPs. Still, Hassan's fellow lawmakers seemed not to be worried about that: One said she had "shamed" the people she represents and that she should be "cited for gross misconduct." But the National Gender and Equality Commission came to her defense in a statement cited by Nairobi News, saying her ejection "amounts to the discrimination of mother, child and Kwale County electorate. It is unfortunate that six years after the Parliamentary Service Commission was mandated to establish a crèche to accommodate nursing legislators and their children, the same is yet to be implemented." (Read more Kenya stories.)

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