Kenya Speaker orders debate on anti-doping bill
09 March 2016, 12:09
Nairobi (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan Speaker of National Assembly Justin Muturi on Tuesday ordered the parliamentary Departmental Committee of Labour and Social Welfare to convene on Thursday to debate the proposed anti-doping bill.
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In a stern warning to the body that deals with matters touching on the country's social welfare, Muturi threatened to have the committee disbanded for derailing efforts aimed at ensuring the country does not miss the April 5 World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) deadline to comply with its code.
Passing of an effective anti-doping law is one of the key conditions set by WADA for Kenya to avoid an international ban that would lock out her athletes from the Rio 2016 Olympics Games in Brazil.
The Speaker was responding to by a lawmaker and 2012 Boston Marathon champion, Wesley Korir, who requested the house to invoke Standing Order number one to allow the proposed law to be published without further delay during Tuesday's sitting.
That Standing Order gives the Speaker powers to circumvent the process a proposed law states before it is brought to the floor of the Kenyan parliament to be debated and adopted as legislation.
"The ball is in your court. You must ensure that committee sits Thursday and listen to the views that Korir and other stakeholders like himself may have so that we can have that legislative proposal fast tracked," Muturi demanded.
"The country and indeed the youth of this country, the athletes run the risk of being banned from participating in international competition," he added.
He slammed the committee chaired by legislator, David Were that has thrice lacked the quorum to listen to Korir and other stakeholders and take to account their views in the proposed law as required by Kenya's Constitution of 2010.
"We haven't moved anywhere and yet Speaker we have less than three weeks before the deadline we have been given by WADA to pass legislation to allow this country to take part in the Olympics," Korir who is also training for the 2016 Boston Marathon in April told the house.
"I would really like to urge you to revoke Standing Order number one and allow the bill to be published so that we can save this country from shame and be able to give young men and women with the ambition to run in the Olympics to be able to participate this year and give this country what has raised the flag everywhere in the world," he added.
"This is a very serious indictment. Korir has been raising this issue of Anti-Doping legislation and when he reports he has appeared before the committee three times and the committee is not able to raise quorum.
"Both the chair and vice-chair as evidence of what Honourable Korir is saying, are absent even now. Is that to say the committee has ceased to operate? In which case, we can order its reconstitution," Muturi chided the committee as calls of 'yes' rent the floor of the house from MPs present.
The government, through the newly formed Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya, is due to bring the proposed law that is in its seventh draft to the floor of the house once it is cleared by WADA, Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Arts and Culture, Dr. Hassan Wario, declared at Sunday's First Lady Half Marathon.
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