Gender activists on Tuesday held a protest outside a city centre restaurant that allegedly threw out a woman who breastfed her baby without covering herself.
Olive Restaurant located on Accra Road came under the spotlight after Betty Kim, the victim, took to social media last Monday to rant on her ugly experience while she was breastfeeding her one-year-old daughter.
In her Facebook posts, she blasted the restaurant’s waiters for their heartless approach in the matter.
“I’m very disappointed by Olive restaurant after humiliating me when breastfeeding my baby. Those Waiter’s should be aware not all babies are covered while being fed. The approach was pathetic, it was raining outside na siwezi nyonyeshea mtoto kwa choo,” wrote Ms Betty Kim.
On Tuesday, the protesters started their march from Uhuru Park’s Freedom Corner, making a stop outside Parliament before heading to the restaurant.
CARRIED YOUNG BABIES
Some carried their young babies, while others marched with dolls cradled on their bosoms.
“I saw the conversation going around on social media about a lady who was asked to stop breastfeeding her child in a restaurant because they thought that it was not appropriate. And I made the decision to join other women today in carrying out the message that breastfeeding is a right,” said Mama Njoki from Mathare.
Mildred Owiso, one of the protest organizers, said the incident was among many cases of breastfeeding mothers being mistreated in public areas.
“We demand that the right of babies to feed is taken into consideration in all public and private spaces. We as women and mothers declare that we will not breastfeed our babies in washrooms. We will do it where we want, when we want and how we want,” said Ms Owiso.
The manager of Olive Restaurant Moses Mbugua apologised to the protesters, despite declaring in an earlier statement that they were not aware of the incident since no one had made a formal complaint.
“On behalf of Olive Restaurant I would like to offer my sincere apologies to women especially mothers. We are aware of the incident and conducting internal investigations to get to the bottom of it,” said a remorseful MR Mbugua.
MPs Martha Wangari (Gilgil) and Isaac Mwaura (Nominated) received the protesters petition at Parliament.
“I support this petition and you can be sure it will reach where it is supposed to reach, to the clerks and Speakers office so that it can be tackled and handled as it should be,” said Gilgil MP Martha Wangari.
In 2017 a Bill was tabled in parliament by Murang’a Woman Repr Sabina Chege proposing that employers and owners of buildings with more than 30 female occupants to set aside special rooms where breastfeeding mothers can express milk for infants.
The bill is yet to be passed.