A Kenyan female senator who identifies as a whistleblower has been suspended for a period of six months by a parliamentary committee.
Gloria Orwoba was summoned before the Powers and Privileges Committee due to statements she made in Senate WhatsApp groups and during a press briefing.
In these statements, she alleged the existence of a culture in parliament characterized by favoritism, ethnic discrimination, bullying, and sexual harassment. She also suggested that behind-the-scenes, the only way to achieve one’s goals was by offering kickbacks or sexual favors, which she refused to do.
Her messages and complaints to colleagues often included the hashtag #NoSexForWork.
However, the committee concluded that her accusations lacked substantiation, and they mandated that, following her suspension, she would need to issue an apology for her comments before being permitted to resume her duties.
In response to her suspension, Ms. Orwoba, who is currently on a work trip attending the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, expressed her discontent.
She argued that the committee had issued its report despite her having filed a legal case on the matter. She believed that she would not receive a fair hearing and alleged that the committee had rushed to publish its report due to her recent request for the disclosure of senators’ and staff members’ travel expenses from October 2022 to September 2023.
Ms Orwoba said her request had brought about “panic and anxiety in high offices in parliament”.
“Swiftly after this request, the motion to suspend me, which was earlier adjourned was reintroduced while I was away,” she alleged.
This isn’t the first instance of the 37-year-old politician, who is also an advocate for ending period-related stigma, encountering issues with her fellow parliamentarians.
Back in February, she was requested to exit parliament due to her non-compliance with the house’s dress code, owing to an apparent period blood stain on her white trouser suit. During that incident, she brushed off criticism from those who accused her of being disrespectful, asserting that accidents can occur.
“Since I am always advocating against period shame, I thought I should go ahead and walk the talk.”