Lack of parliamentary approved anti-doping laws threaten to derail efforts to stamp out doping in the local sports industry, campaigners and government authorities have warned.
The observation came at Clean Sports unveiling ceremony in Lilongwe yesterday where Nyasa Big Bullets defender Yamikani Fodya and Blue Eagles Sisters centre Takondwa Lwazi were officially unveiled as anti-doping ambassadors.
Malawi Anti-Doping Organisation (Mado) organised the event which was graced by Minister of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development Henry Mussa, representatives of the donor community and athletes from different sports codes.
Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) executive secretary George Jana said the key challenge facing anti-doping programmes is that some of the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) banned drugs do not fall under the Dangerous Drugs Act of Parliament.
This, he warned, renders Mado powerless to enforce prosecution of doping athletes and banned drugs traffickers.
“The only punishment Mado can impose on an athlete that tests positive for banned substances is just a ban. No prosecution can be effected, not even against the drug traffickers,” he said.
Jana said, at the moment, they want to push for Mado to gain parliamentary recognition which would help the body to be allocated independent funding in the national budget.
“Mado needs a lot of resources to implement its programmes. It is, therefore, difficult to get such funds if they continue relying on MNCS funding. But once they are registered under Parliament they would be able to get independent allocation which might be significant enough,” the executive secretary said.
Mado chairperson James Mwenda also admitted that the lack of legal framework was a stumbling block, saying that they are currently pushing for the organisation’s name approval.
Mado uses the name Malawi which is protected under the Protected Flag, Emblems and Names Act.
“We have applied to the Attorney General’s office seeking approval of the name. That is the first step. Then, with the help of the council and ministry. We hope to push for the recognition by Parliament,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mussa has promised to support Mado in its efforts to have legal framework which he said would help it operate effectively.
“I will make sure that we get a lawyer from the Attorney General who can help formulate this legal framework. Anti-doping is a serious initiative. It, therefore, needs our support,” he said.
The minister also hailed the appointing of the anti-doping ambassadors believing they will be influential in combating use of banned substances.
On their part, Fodya and Lwazi pledged to step up anti-doping awareness across the country. n