NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya’s parliament has passed an anti-doping bill, required to avoid a possible ban from the Rio Olympics, and President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to sign it into law this week, officials said on Tuesday.
The law, demanded by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), will criminalise doping in a country famed for its middle and long distance running excellence but which has been tainted by several doping cases in the recent past.
Up to 40 Kenyan athletes have failed doping tests since 2012, the biggest name among them being former three-time Boston City Marathon and Chicago Marathon champion, Rita Jeptoo, now serving a ban.
“The bill was passed today and will await presidential assent, which we expect to happen any time this week,” Martin Mutua, head of media in parliament, told Reuters.
Mutua added that there were several amendments, the most notable of which was clause 29, which deals with prosecution.
“Arrests and prosecution of people associated with doping will fall under Inspector General and not Compliance Officers as was envisaged by the bill. Being a sovereign state, we cannot allow other agencies to handle this sensitive aspect,” said Mutua.
The WADA had extended the deadline to May 2 for Kenya to approve the law criminalising doping.
Kenyatta said last week he would certainly sign the bill into law to ensure that Kenya was not barred from the Rio Olympics, which run from Aug. 5 to 21.
Editing by Ken Ferris/Alan Baldwin