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US TV presenter sparks uproar after remark on pregnant women in Kenya

The presenter claimed that pregnant women in Kenya are denied the right to vote

American TV presenter Emily Compagno

American TV presenter Emily Compagno has received criticism for a comment she made on the rights of pregnant women in Kenya.

Compagno was speaking on a recent show on Fox News where she claimed that in Kenya, pregnant women cannot go out, depriving them of the right to vote.

She compared voting rights in Kenya and the US alleging: “What about in Kenya where pregnant women can’t leave the house so they have absolutely no constructive right to vote?"

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Her remarks sparked uproar on social media, with many Kenyans accusing her of being ignorant of the advancement of women's rights in Kenya.

What is this? What is Emily Compagno saying? That in Kenya pregnant women can’t leave the house so they have no right to vote? What does she imagine our country is like? That statement is incorrect, misleading, and condescending and should be withdrawn,” said Pauline Njoroge, a popular Azimio La Umoja campaigner.

Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris corrected the Fox News presenter, explaining that in terms of voting rights, expectant women in Kenya are given first priority on voting queues.

Pregnant women in Kenya are allowed to leave the house. Pregnant women in Kenya can vote. Pregnant women get priority on voting lines. Pregnant women do give birth free of charge under the government Linda Mama program. Retract your statement,” Passaris said.

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Interestingly, a number of women in Kenya have delivered children at polling stations while waiting to vote.

In 2017, one Pauline Chemanang was helped to deliver her baby by voters at a polling station in West Pokot.

"Now I am happy because I have given birth and I have voted. Having given birth at a polling station is a blessing to me and I thank God,” she said at the time after naming the child Chepkura.

Some of the challenges that may hinder the participation of women in the voting process include insecurity associated with elections, faith in the electoral process, and apathy.

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