NAIROBI, March 30 – Kenya has begun the process of enacting a law to make the country compliant with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code.
However, Kenya is set to miss the April 5 WADA deadline after the Anti-Doping Bill went through the First Reading during Wednesday’s afternoon Sitting and now stands committed to the House Labour and Social Welfare Committee for 14 days to allow public participation.
It is an Act of Parliament to provide for the implementation of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Convention against Doping in Sport; The regulation of sporting activities free from the use of prohibited substances and methods in order to protect the health of athletes.
“The Bill will also see the establishment and management of the Anti-Doping Agency and to provide for the agency’s powers, functions, management and for connected purposes,” the Clerk of the National Assembly announced.
To comply with WADA Regulations, MPs have until next Tuesday to pass a law failure to which Kenya risks a ban to participate in the 2016 Olympic Games that will be hosted in Rio de Janeiro.
There is no time for the Bill to go through the necessary steps in Parliament since after Thursday’s Presidential State of the Nation address, MPs will head for a 10-day recess, meaning Kenya will definitely miss the WADA deadline.
The State sponsored legislation aims at curbing the menace that has seen 40 Kenyan athletes banned for anti-doping violations since 2011 with the latest seeing two-time world cross country champion Emily Chebet banned for four years after testing positive for a banned substance.
Kenya has already missed a deadline to provide assurance of having a functional Anti-Doping Agency, leading WADA to place the country on a ‘watch-list’ of nations at risk of breaching the agency’s code.
The government has already allocated Sh500 million needed to implement the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya but the Supplementary Budget is yet to be approved by Parliament.
-By Laban Wanambisi-