Parliament approves Anti-Doping law amendments

Samples collected from athletes to test for doping. PHOTO/File
Samples collected from athletes to test for doping. PHOTO/File

The Special Sitting of the National Assembly on Thursday unanimously approved amendments to the Anti-Doping Act of 2016 proposed by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as Kenya hastened the process to reverse the non-compliant verdict slapped on the nation on May 12.

Members of Parliament (MPs) present overwhelmingly supported the 24 changes to the law agreed upon by the anti-doping organisation and a high-powered delegation from Kenya that travelled to WADA headquarters in Montreal, Canada mid this month.

The Bill moved to the Committee Stage before returning to the floor of the house later Wednesday for the third reading.

At the same time, Parliament absolved itself from making the amendments that fell foul of WADA’s Compliance Committee that advised the Foundation Board to declare the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) non-compliant.

The amendment to the act was moved by the Leader of Majority in the National Assembly, Aden Duale who also announced the Bill would be debated in the floor of the Senate on Tuesday.

“Mr. Speaker Sir, I beg to move the Anti-Doping (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (the Bill). The main object of this Bill is to make provisions to align the Anti-Doping Act, 2016 with the UNESCO Convention against Doping in Sport. Clause 1 of the Bill is the short title and provides that the Bill shall come into force upon publication in the Gazette,” Duale said when making the announcing the notice of amendment.

He then outlined the 14 clauses of the Bill that needed to be amended to ensure compliance to the Code.

Contributing to the debate, Matunga MP and chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Labour and Social Welfare; David Were, accused the Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts led by Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Hassan Wario of being responsible to the changes in the law signed by President Uhuru Kenyatta on April 24 that triggered WADA’s damning non-compliance verdict.

“I got a call from a correspondent from the BBC and they informed me that word had come from WADA that Kenya was not compliant. I was really shocked because I did not know what the reasons were. They interviewed me and I was very categorical that whatever Bill that had been brought before the House, we did not mutilate.

“The assumption that time was actually that this house is the one that had interfered with the Bill brought before us which contention I said, is not true,” Were (Orange Democratic Movement) said.

“At that point, we did not know why WADA had indicated that we were not compliant. I managed to get the letter that came to WADA to our CS Sports together with the Act and comments they had put and having gone through them, they had concerns on 24 clauses,” he added.

Were said his committee would sit before the afternoon Special Sitting with officials from the Sports Ministry and the State Law Office to go through the amendments for a ‘clean up exercise’.

“We must go through this document and come into agreement that we have not left out anything that was agreed so that we don’t again fall into a problem where we pass these amendments and then we are told we are not compliant,” Were who seconded the Anti-Doping (Amendment) Bill of 2016 added.

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Story By Mutwiri Mutuota
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