Kenya to present proposed anti-doping legislation
Country races to avoid being declared non-compliant by WADA
New legislation to make doping a criminal offence will be presented to Kenya's parliament on Monday, the sports minister said, as the country scrambles to avoid being declared non-compliant with world anti-doping rules.
Speaking on Kenyan television on Wednesday, sports minister Hassan Wario said "we are working behind the scenes" to ensure the proposed legislation is approved and passed into law.
"Parliament is our friend, they are Kenyans like us and they understand the importance of this issue," Wario said.
The proposed legislation was "validated" on Wednesday, Wario said, and ready to go to lawmakers for approval.
Anti-doping legislation is one of the things Kenya — which is in the midst of a doping crisis — must put in place by an April 5 deadline or face being declared non-compliant by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
That could lead to a ban for its track and field athletes from international competition, including the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Kenya's government must also provide proper funding for the new national anti-doping agency.
The Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya received only $3 million of the $5 million the government approved for its setup costs 10 days ago, said its chief executive, Japhter Rugut.
ADAK has faced a long delay in starting work after being formally established over a year ago. It was given approval by the government to operate only in December.
The delays with ADAK and passing doping laws meant Kenya missed a Feb. 11 deadline from WADA, which has given the East African country one more chance. WADA's compliance committee will investigate and report back on April 5.
A verdict of non-compliance could lead to sanctions from the IAAF after its president, Sebastian Coe, previously said it would consider banning Kenya if the country was in breach of anti-doping rules.
"The threat is serious, yes, but action is being taken," Rugut said on Wednesday.
Wario said there were delays because the process of passing a law in Kenya was complex and lengthy.
"We spent a lot of time there trying to make (WADA) understand the legal processes in Kenya," he said.
Kenyan authorities have had nearly four years to act after serious problems of doping among its runners were uncovered in 2012.