Anti-Doping Bill to be ready for Parliament on Monday

The 28-page Anti-Doping Bill will be ready for presentation on the floor of Parliament on Monday with the proposed legislation to criminalise the vice set for validation on Wednesday.

Speaking at Citizen TV’s Cheche show, Sports Cabinet Secretary Dr. Hassan Wario and Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) CEO, Japhter Rugut, announced the sixth draft of the Bill was now fit to be pushed through the august house as the country races to be compliant with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code.

Wario and Rugut exuded confidence Kenya would meet the adjusted April 5 deadline to comply with the Code averting a potential ban from international competition including the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.

Kenya missed the initial February 11 deadline to be compliant with the Code with the world-anti doping body referring the case to its Independent Committee that was to rule whether the country’s athletes would be barred from international competition before the time limit was extended.

“We are working behind the scenes. Parliament is our friend, they are Kenyans like us and they understand the importance of this issue. That is one of the reasons we said we could not meet the (February) 11th deadline and we are more optimistic with the (April) 5th deadline,” Wario said.

He added: “WADA are very confident that the Government is spearheading this process in the right manner. You cannot cut short cuts with WADA; you cannot cut shortcuts with the legal frameworks in Kenya and we were very frank with them that we could not meet the (February) 11th deadline.”

“It’s still a process and the process is on track. We did the stakeholders workshop on February 10 and the validation exercise on the same will be done today (Wednesday) and we believe that by 29th of this month, we will be able to present the document now validated and corrected through the Cabinet Secretary to Parliament,” Rugut declared.

“The threat is serious, yes, but action is being taken. We need to accomplish those things. We cannot pass a bill that has not gone through the consultative process. We could not have complied all that is required by WADA without going through each step,” the local anti-doping body boss explained.

The minister cited the country’s legal and bureaucratic bottlenecks as the reasons Kenya missed the initial deadline as WADA pressured authorities to fulfil three key conditions; criminalising doping, setting up ADAK and stamping out the vice with help from the Chinese and Norwegian anti-doping authorities.

“They thought that we would make the law and just adapt it the following day. There are processes in Kenya; the Constitution says we must engage people, after that we must take it to the Cabinet, after that we has to go to Parliament to become law.

“The legal framework in Kenya is very different from let’s say China from other countries and it was a sticking point. The other issue was you have to wait for a Legal Notice for you to set structures,” Wario underscored.

“The disjoint we discovered with WADA are the legal frameworks within different countries. For instance, one of the sticking point was WADA were saying we should not have a board and in Kenya, to operate a parastatal, the Government must be dealing with a board.

“We spent a lot of time there trying to make them understand the legal processes in Kenya,” the Minister added.

Wario revealed the initial Ksh 300m of the Ksh 500m budget set aside for the operations of ADAK was only this month, another factor that stalled the operations of the local anti-doping body that was established in January last year and given legal force via a Cabinet notice on December 24th, 2015.

“In terms of the Secretariat, processes, training and testing require money.  We only got money two weeks ago and it was uploaded to our system about 10 days ago,” Rugut confirmed.

The doping bill that incorporates suggestions from WADA seeks to punish those “providing, supervising, facilitating or otherwise participating in the use or attempted use by another person of a prohibited substance or prohibited method,” to enhance sports performance.

ADAK will be the body “responsible for adopting the rules for initiating, implementing or enforcing any part of the Doping Control process.”