President Uhuru Kenyatta signed the Anti-Doping (Amendment) Bill, 2020 into law on Thursday, The Standard Sport confirmed.
The new law amends the Anti-Doping Act of 2016 to align Kenya’s legislative framework with the 2021 World Anti-Doping code and regulations.
The new anti-doping law also ensures the continued participation of Kenyan athletes in local, regional and international competitions in line with the United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Convention against doping in sports.
Doping Kenyan athletes will now face punitive measures including jail terms.
“As lawmakers, we have a responsibility of ensuring this Bill becomes Law immediately,” said Kisii Senator Prof Sam Ongeri on Tuesday.
“Agents who hold these children like guinea pigs using them for self-gain. They are the ones when they realise an athlete is losing their power, start introducing enhancement drugs to continue winning races and sports and generating income,” Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula pointed out.
Sports Cabinet Secretary Amb Amina Mohamed in July said Kenya would pass legislation to criminalise doping offences.
With Kenya’s doping cases increasing sharply in the last five years, CS Amina added the country was determined to end the vice and have athletes win clean on the global stage.
She also warned foreign and local agents and coaches against influencing the younger athletes to dope by exploiting their ignorance.
The former Kenyan law stipulated a jail term of up to three years for support staff found guilty in connection with doping, but not for athletes.
From 2004 to August 2018, 138 Kenyan athletes tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, according to a WADA report published in September 2018.
With their high number of dopers, Kenya was placed under category A on the list of countries being watched together with Nigeria, Ethiopia, Bahrain, Morocco, Ukraine and Belarus.