NAIROBI, April 12 – MPs on Tuesday begun debate on the Anti-Doping Bill which seeks to criminalise sports doping in a bid to beat the extended May 2 World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) deadline.
MPs led by Majority Leader Aden Duale vowed to fast-track the law, to avoid Kenya being declared non-compliant by WADA, an outcome that will see the country banned from competing in international competitions including the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
“I am sure after this afternoon’s debate we will fast-track the Bill so that our country meets the international deadline requirement and I want to say the contributions will translate into the various amendments,” Duale told the House after it resumed from a 10-day recess.
Duale assured the legislation will be signed into law by President Uhuru Kenyatta latest Tuesday next week since they have given it priority.
“This is a very important Bill as per Standing Orders; this House is to debate the Presidential debate in the next four sessions and today (Tuesday) I want to ask members that we do whatever it takes to conclude the second reading since this Bill is important to the nation and athletes,” Duale added.
“I’m sure this House is up to the task and latest by Tuesday next week the President will assemble all the athletes and assent the Anti-Doping Bill into law so that Kenya will have its place in the nations that are known for sports.”
Majority chief whip Katoo Ole Metito seconded the motion urging MPs to take advantage of the third WADA deadline extension.
“I want to thank WADA for giving Kenya some window which is a good gesture because we have seen some countries being banned from competing in the upcoming Olympics and I call upon my colleagues we do pass this legislation without delay,” the Kajiado South MP urged.
With the conclusion of debate, the MPs are likely to consider and scrutinize proposed amendments when the Bill comes up for the Committee of the Whole House on Thursday.
During this stage the Labour and Social Welfare Committee chairman David Were and other Members will be able present their recommendations so that they are either adopted or dropped from the Bill.
Unfortunately, 2012 Boston Marathon Champion and Cherangany MP Wesley Korir, who spearheaded the legislative proposal, will not be present to make contributions after leaving the country over the weekend to prepare for the Boston Marathon slated for next Tuesday.
Once the Bill sails through the Committee of the Whole House, it will be read for a third and final time signaling that the House has given its approval and can now be presented to the President for the assent into law.
The proposed Anti-Doping Bill establishes the anti-doping agency and proposes a Sh100,000 ($1,000) fine and/or a year in jail for athletes caught doping.
Those caught smuggling or administering banned substances face a Sh3 million ($30,000) fine or a three-year jail term.