The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) has banned the flying of drones in Kenya.
The agency published a notice on Daily Nation saying that drones are now illegal in Kenyan, and anyone caught flying one will be jailed for a year or fined of up to Sh100,000.
“Operation of such drones by the public for video coverage, film making, surveillance, and any other interference with Kenyan airspace,” is prohibited,” read the notice.
“Any person who contravenes the provisions of paragraph (1) commits an offence and shall be liable, upon convictions, to a fine not exceeding one hundred thousand shillings or imprisonment for a term not exceeding twelve months, or to both such fine and imprisonment.”
In 2018, KCAA published the drone regulations legalizing the use of the remotely controlled aircraft but Parliament had not approved the changes. This temporarily allowed filmmakers and other interested parties to own and operate drones provided they had a license.
Hundreds of drones have been confiscated at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport after being imported at the time when there is no legal framework for such gadgets in the country.
Stakeholders complained that it had taken too long for the regulations to be adopted, saying the move has hurt some of them who were ready to start using the equipment locally for different activities.
“We have been waiting for too long and it is time that these regulations are ratified by Parliament to pave way for use of drones in Kenya,” said Sanjeev Gadhia, chief executive officer of Astral Aviation, which is starting a drone company in the country.
In March, KCAA gazetted drone regulations that will, among other things, establish a drone registry to control the ownership and use of unmanned aerial vehicles.
“We will ensure all drone operators register with us in order to license them to fly. We need to know how many drones are in the country, their purpose and the identify of their operators for accountability purposes,” said Gilbert Kibe.