President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday morning signed the historic Anti-Doping Bill into law thereby beating the May 2, 2016 deadline set by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
The signing ceremony which took place at State House Nairobi, was witnessed by prominent sportsmen and women led by the Cabinet Secretary of Sports, Culture and Arts Hassan Wario.
Speaking during the ceremony, the President made it clear that the signing of the law is not an end by itself but rather the continuation of his government’s efforts to stand against cheating and corruption in the sporting and athletics arena.
“As I’ve repeatedly emphasized, Kenya is 100 per cent committed to ensuring total compliance with international regulations on sports and athletics, be they set by WADA, IAAF, the International Olympic Committee or any other International Organisation,” said President Kenyatta.
He said Kenya is committed to ensuring that Kenyan sports teams compete by the book because “we believe that across the board, Kenyans are more than able to win fairly.” The President pointed out that cheating in whatever way is a dis-service to the potential of players and the talent of athletes.
The President expressed confident that WADA will look upon the passage of the anti-doping law favourably as a sign of Kenya’s unwavering commitment to meeting the highest international standards. “Yet even as our national leadership takes these necessary steps to compliance, I want to urge our athletes and sportsmen and women to hold themselves to the highest possible code of conduct,” said the President.
The President said Kenyan athletes have earned reputation as sportsmen and women of the highest stature through hard work over the years. “That reputation has been earned diligently through the exertion and effort, sweat and sacrifices of many hardworking men and women,” he said.
However President Kenyatta made it clear that those who breach the law will be punished without fear of favour. He said the law will not only apply to individually athletes and players but to teams too.
The President did not spare the Kenya Football Federation which was recently accused of fielding over age players which led to Kenya being thrown out of the African Cup of Nations qualifiers. “This kind of issue is simply unacceptable for a federation of its caliber, and let us not sugar-coat it—it is cheating. It is breaking the rules. And if the federation does not know the rules, then that is carelessness” he said.
Deputy President William Ruto said the new law is very important as it is an instrument that will make sure Kenyans sportsmen and women compete and win fairly without suspicion.
Also present were Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi, Leader of Majority Aden Duale and members of the Parliamentary Committee on sports. (PSCU)