The first complaint against Kanko was filed in November last year.
Photo: GLOBAL LOOK PRESS
The European Parliament has opened an investigation against Assita Kanko, Member of the European Parliament for the Dutch-speaking Electoral College of Belgium, in relation to allegations of harassment. According to Politico, the first complaint against Kanko was filed in November of last year, then the case went through a “preliminary study”, and she can now be formally charged.
As a general rule, each MEP can have three assistants reporting to him. Since his election in July 2019, the 42-year-old Kanko has served 13 parliamentary staff, and that number does not include the many trainees whose identities are not officially published on the European Parliament website.
Politico was able to speak with an official familiar with the investigation, three of Kanko’s former subordinates and two other officials of the MEP who worked closely with the Belgian MEP and her team. They all unanimously confirmed that there is a “culture of fear” in Kankou’s office, issuing orders that cannot be followed and making personal demands on employees that contradict her personality. The official also considers it normal to establish tasks on weekends and after hours, both at dawn and in the middle of the night.
However, Kanko’s former assistants shared that they often became victims of her “mind games”, which she liked to stage rightly or wrongly.
“She makes you believe that it was you who did or said something wrong, even when you have proof to the contrary,” said one of them. “His orders from her always had to be carried out immediately, so she sometimes even had to turn to friends and family for help. And the next day, she could abruptly change her mind and go back to the original plan. It happened all the time and it drove us all crazy.”
According to the former employees of the European civil servant, she absolutely did not respect her personal boundaries and, in addition to work tasks, often forced her to carry out her personal tasks. Then, Kanko demanded to go shopping instead of her, order her food, and even sit with her son.
Kanko, the leader of his New Flemish Alliance party and a representative of the European Parliament declined to comment on the investigation, citing the confidentiality of the Advisory Committee’s work.
Assita Kanko was born in 1980 in Burkina Faso in West Africa. She was circumcised as a child and has been campaigning to ban the practice ever since. After Burkanan investigative journalist Zongo was murdered in 1998, she became a human rights activist. In 2001, Kanko moved to the Netherlands to study journalism and later settled in Brussels, becoming a Belgian citizen seven years later.