Kenya is maintaining the ban on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), better known as drones. With parliament failing to lift the ban, flying a drone in Kenya still attracts a fine of KES 100 K (USD 1 K) or a one-year prison sentence.
On Wednesday, November 6, a public notice issued by the Director-General of the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA), Gilbert Kibe, said Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia had in March published a notice prohibiting the use of drones in Kenya and that directive should be adhered to.
“The public is hereby reminded of this prohibition (use of UAVs), which shall apply to any person who imports, tests, operates … a remotely piloted aircraft (drones),” he said.
“The prohibition follows the annulment by Parliament of the regulations previously published by KCAA on March 21.”
The announcement of the continuation of the ban comes as a blow to firms offering drone-based services such as photography, as well as humanitarian, health and wildlife conservation sectors that use the devices for mapping activities.
Before now, stakeholders have voiced their complaints against the ban, lamenting the amount of time it was taking to set up and implement regulations on drone usage. There were also talks about the ban hurting individuals who were ready to start using the equipment locally for different activities.
A shipment of hundreds of drones currently lays confiscated at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. These drones are said to have been shipped into the country at a time when there was no legal provision guiding drone usage in the country.
After finding several provisions untenable, especially those guiding public participation, safety, and security, the House annulled the Remote Piloted Aircraft Systems Regulations put forward by the KCAA in 2017.
The KCAA boss, however, mentioned that the agency has since incorporated the recommendations the Parliament and public made in the proposed draft before Parliament. The new bill will have to be cleared by parliament and until then, flying drones in Kenya could get one into a whole load of trouble.
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