National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi yesterday gave Kenyans a ray of hope after revealing the Anti-Doping Bill will be tabled and discussed in Parliament on Tuesday.
Kenya is racing against time to meet the World Anti-Doping deadline of April 5 to ensure compliance. Muturi had earlier promised to fast-track the document after the country missed the initial February 16 deadline.
Two documents are now in Parliament, with a proposal by Cherangany MP Wesley Korir having been adopted by the members but it is the government-drafted and Wada-approved one which will be discussed. While addressing the House, Muturi called on the MPs to help pass the Bill before the April 5 deadline and avert a possible ban for Kenyan athletes from future global events, a fate that has befallen Kenya’s track and field rivals Russia. There were fears that Kenya might fail in their sprint to hit the deadline, especially after Muturi had said the Bill was yet to reach him.
The Bill, which is already published, will be tabled for a second reading, where MPs will make amendments, if any. If the MPs give the green light, the document will be officially law and will only require the President Uhuru Kenyatta’s signature to make it binding.
Parliament postponed their recess, which was to start yesterday but will now start on April 1, to debate the Bill.
Kenya is among countries on the Wada watch-list after a series of convictions on anti-doping violations by Kenyan athletes in the recent past — about 40 athletes have been nabbed in the last two years.
The country’s list of shame features the high profile positive test returns for EPO in former Boston Marathon champion Rita Jeptoo’s A and B samples while sprinters Joy Sakari and Fransisca Koki were banned for Furosemide use at the 2015 World Championships. Other top runners under suspension include 800m runner Agatha Jeruto, former world cross-country champion Emily Chebet and marathoner Julia Mumbi Muraga.