The extent to which the Kenya Anti-Doping Act of 2016 which was passed by parliament and signed into law by the President differed from the version approved by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is startling.
Contrary to what the government termed as minor questions by WADA as to the reason for Kenya being declared non-compliant by WADA a total of 24 queries were raised by WADA in regards to the Act in a document that I have seen.
For instance, Section 3 (b) which indicated to whom the act applies to has provisions which narrow the scope of the Act to only focus on athletes instead of ALL sports women and men.
Part VI of the Act that tackled General Provisions and which is at the core of the Act was found to have been severely mutilated. Removed were the parts binding all sports people to the anti-doping rules, the making compliance to anti-doping rules a requirement to participation in sports in Kenya and the requirement for cooperation with Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) by all sportspeople.
WADA also had in issue with Section 26 (k) which terms unlawful stocking, distribution, transporting, selling or dealing in prohibited substances as prohibited activities in the Act. WADA does NOT consider this an anti-doping violation.
WADA is also uncomfortable with the lack of clarity in Section 42 (6) on how anti-doping violations would be handled.
Section 30 (4) which gives powers to an anti-doping compliance officer to arrest, search and detain a suspect for 24 hours was found to take Kenyan anti-doping officials into foray of criminal and prosecution procedures.
WADA took issue with a recommendation in Section 37 (2) that ADAK would annually submit a report to the Cabinet Secretary of Sports. The WADA code is transparent and so it would want public publication of the report and a copy given to WADA.
Section 7 (1) which laid out the functions of ADAK was found to have severely whittled down the functions of ADAK. WADA is for an ADAK that is totally independent.
Section 15 which tackled the conduct, regulation and powers of the ADAK board raised eyebrows with WADA. The board is top-heavy with government officials and political appointees. In the Schedule of the Act WADA once again took exception with the sweeping powers given to the ADAK board.
Section 23 (1) that established the Therapeutic Use Exception Committee was found to be altered from the final version approved by WADA.
Section 24 (2 & 3) that gives guidelines on Therapeutic Use Exception was found to have been modified and clarity lost.
WADA sought clarity in Section 31 (1) on whether the tribunal for dispute resolution would be before or after court process and what the disciplinary procedure would be.
Section 27 (6a) had a surprise reference to the Athlete Testing Programme which WADA sought clarification for as it was not in the definitions.
Section one alone of the bill had 10 comments with WADA questioning the deletion words or changes in phrasing. WADA questions were – Clarify how “prohibited activity” can be defined and why this replaced “anti-doping rule violation? Clarify whether a healthcare practitioner would fall under Athlete Support Personnel or there is a distinction?
The definitions of “national level athlete”, “out-of-competition testing”, “prohibited association”, “trafficking” were changed compared to final version approved by WADA.
All in all quite starling how the government managed to submit a law with SO SO many errors and put at risk the Olympics dreams of all Kenyan sportspeople.
This kind of incompetence needs to be punished by the President.
Now to salvage the situation, the Kenyan government delegation led by Cabinet Secretary Foreign Affairs Amina Mohammed and the Cabinet Secretary Sports, Arts and Culture Hassan Wario met with World Anti-Doping Agency officials led by WADA Director General David Howman for day long deliberations in Montreal Canada on Tuesday 18th May.
The road map agreed with the government of Kenya and WADA will see adoption of the amendments to the Act, presentation of the amended clauses to parliament followed by presidential assent. Thereafter the amended bill will be presented to WADA where the WADA compliance committee will review and give approval.
While this process is on-going Kenyan athletes will be allowed to participate in international sport and Kenya will have representation at the Rio Olympics.
GOD BLESS KENYA!