Kwale Woman Representative Zulekha Hassan says she actively followed proceedings in the National Assembly on August 7 via YouTube so that she could know when exactly to sneak her 5-month-old baby into Parliament.
Speaking on the Milele Drive Show on Tuesday, August 13, Zulekha said she had preplanned the entire incident, and that she had received the blessings of the people close to her, including her husband.
“Before executing the plan, I consulted my husband and a family friend, who told me they were okay with it,” said Zulekha Hassan.
-On Action Day: Wednesday, August 7-
“At first, I was scared of the many Serjeant-at-Arms, who were manning the entrance of the National Assembly chambers. Nonetheless, I had a mission that I wanted to accomplish, and there was no going back,” Zulekha Hassan told hosts Francis Luchivya and Wilbroda.
“I arrived at Parliament Buildings early enough last Wednesday in readiness to execute my plan. Other Parliament employees hadn’t even reported to work yet. I sat quietly in one of the corners within Parliament. I, thereafter, accessed YouTube, and began streaming Bunge TV, which airs proceedings within the National Assembly.
“I was relying on Bunge TV to know at what particular point exactly it would be possible for me to sneak into the chambers with the baby. When the session was about to kick off — actively –, I knew the attention of the Serjeant-at-Arms will be directed toward the MPs within the House, and, therefore, it would be easy for me to access the National Assembly chambers without being subjected to a thorough body-search,” said Zulekha.
“And when that time came, I stood up and, in such a hurry, went towards the National Assembly chambers entrance. While on the way, I was praying that the security agents lose focus and allow me entry into the House. My prayers were answered, save for one female security personnel, who asked me to hand over the baby I was carrying to her. I was already past the midpoint between the entrance of the House and the external area. So, I ran a distance of six meters with the baby into the chambers,” said Zulekha.
“Inside the chambers, I had the baby, of course, my phone, a milk bottle and a card that allows me to communicate with the Speaker. I was hoping the Speaker would allow me to address the House on why I chose to get into the Assembly with the baby, but I was not granted that chance,” said Zulekha Hassan.
After several complaints voiced by MPs in the House, the temporary speaker, Christopher Omulele (MP, Lunda), ordered Zulekha be ejected from the National Assembly chambers.
The Woman Rep reveals that she feared one of her punishments would be to be denied her three months’ salary.
“With that grave consequence of my action in mind, I still chose to do what I did because I wanted to pass across a message – that lactating MPs deserve to have a special room, where they are allowed to attend to their young babies. Wednesday, August 7, was my only opportunity,” said Zulekha..
National Assembly Deputy Speaker, Moses Cheboi, who took up the matter, pardoned the woman rep, but with a stern warning.
“I am informed that the member claimed that the reason for her action is that there is not breast feeding stations for lactating mothers within the precincts of Parliament,” said Cheboi, adding that the claim was untrue because there is a facility on the 4th floor of the Red Cross Building which caters for lactating mothers
-Reprimanded and warned-
“Whereas such grossly disorderly conduct attracts an immediate punishment for the withdrawal from the precincts of the Assembly for a minimum of five days and a maximum of 28 days, I choose to caution and reprimand the member for Kwale County. In this regard, Zulekha is hereby severely reprimanded and warned to refrain from engaging in such conduct in future,” said Cheboi.