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Kenyan lawmakers pass anti-doping law ahead of WADA deadline

MPs inside Parliament.PHOTO/File
MPs inside Parliament.PHOTO/File

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 19 – Kenya looks set to beat the May 2 deadline imposed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) after the National Assembly approved the Anti-Doping Bill which proposes severe punishment for persons or bodies found culpable of violating doping regulations.

National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale gained MPs’ support to ensure the Bill becomes law immediately after President Uhuru Kenyatta assents to it, possibly before the end of the week.

The move by Duale means that the Bill will not have to wait for the mandatory 14 days after gazettement to become part of the laws of Kenya a factor he observed will lead Kenya to miss the deadline.

“This Bill is very important because it is binding many countries; it is an international law, so if our Parliament might do some addition or subtraction then that may lead to the banning of our team,” said Duale who sponsored the Bill.

Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario described Tuesday’s development in Parliament as a major victory for Kenya since it is clear the May 2 deadline will be met.

“Today is a great day. The Anti-Doping Bill has been passed. Olympics here we come!” he said.

Duale led MPs into rejecting two key amendments brought by the House Labour and Social Welfare Committee, including one which would have increased the penalty for persons found selling, stocking or transporting banned substances from Sh3 million or a three year fine to Sh5 million fine or five year jail term.
READ: MPs seek stricter penalties in anti-doping law

This came after Endebess MP Robert Pukose and Machakos Town MP Victor Munyaka moved amendments to increase the members of the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) Board members from five to seven.

They unsuccessfully sought to have a person nominated by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board and a clinical pharmacist included in the agency which they argued would add the input of the medical professionals to a body that had been dominated by nominees drawn from the sports industry.

“In 10(c) they have given not more than five other persons appointed by virtue of their knowledge and experience in sports appointed by the CS. I feel that we need to bring in the regulator for drugs because they are ones who monitor pharmaco-vigilance; which drugs are within the market, because many drugs are used for human treatment and if we don’t have anybody to be able to monitor those drugs then it becomes a challenge,” said Pukose, who is also the vice-chairperson of the House Health Committee.

“This is a very technical Bill, and after consultation with the stakeholders we felt that we should leave the Bill the way it is in terms of the composition of the Board by the CS,” Labour and Social Welfare Committee Chairman David Were (Matungu) said in opposition to the amendment.

READ: Hope for athletes as Anti Doping Bill listed for debate

The new Bill is intended to save Kenyan athletes from an Olympics ban threatened by IAAF president Sebastian Coe.

The IAAF earlier this month listed Kenya among five countries in “critical care” over their inadequate anti-doping measures.

Some 40 Kenyan athletes have been involved in drug scandals in the last three years leading to the suspension of Athletics-Kenya Chief Executive Officer Isaac Mwangi for alleged corruption involving doping cover-ups, drawing a sharp rebuke from WADA.

-By Laban Wanambisi-