By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw
On 22 April, 2016, the new Kenya Anti-Doping Act was passed into law, just in the nick of time, and thus enabling Kenyan athletes, who are eligible to do so, to participate in this year’s Summer Olympic Games in Rio following warnings from the International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
Kenyan athletes have been in the news for some time for failing drugs tests and also the poor administration and enforcement of doping in Kenya, which has left a lot to be desired and falling far short of international standards; and Kenyan Athletics, in particular, have been under scrutiny by the IAAF, the World Governing Body of the Sport, and also WADA.
Under the new Act, effect is given to the provisions of the WADA Code and the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Convention on Doping in Sport. The Act also sets up a new Kenya Anti-Doping Agency (Agency) with wide-ranging and well-defined purposes and powers.
As Elvis Majani and Nick Osoro, Kenyan Advocates and founding members of the Kenya Centre for Sports Law (www.csl.or.ke
) point out in a detailed article on the new Anti-Doping Law in Kenya, which will be published in the June 2016 issue of ‘Global Sports Law and Taxation Reports’, the passing of this Law illustrates “Kenya’s commitment to be at par with set international standards on doping and to protect the fundamental right of athletes and sports persons.”
The authors of this article also mention that “the law is to be applied widely and across the board; it further gives details of the persons and organization that it regulates. This enables partnership and collaboration between stakeholders involved in matters of anti-doping. Such include manufacturers, importers, stockists, athletes, athletes’ support personnel, and the Agency.”
The enactment of the new Anti-Doping Law in Kenya is to be welcomed and, hopefully, this Law will achieve its clear objective of cleaning up sport in Kenya, especially in Athletics, and also encouraging Kenyan athletes to play fair in sport for the benefit of all its stakeholders!