Unmanned flying vehicles popularly referred to as drones have been under scrutiny by regulators that appear to echo their distaste for the devices.
In 2016, Kenya drone enthusiasts started engaging regulators to provide them with operating licenses. The plan was to register drones with the KCAA (Kenya Civil Aviation Authority) before receiving an RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems) certificate. A few weeks later, KRA confiscated more than 1000 drones that were reportedly brought into the country without proper documentation.
In early 2017, the state followed the footsteps of Rwanda by approving a draft legal framework for remotely piloted aircraft systems. Later on, people were given the go-ahead to apply for a drone operating license, although the requirements were quite harsh, including strict operation time, height restrictions and models.
In mid-2018, the development was then set back after the proposal by the KCAA named the Remote Piloted Aircraft Systems Regulations, 2017, was shot down by MPs. The lawmakers cited minimal public participation during the formulation of the regulations, privacy issues and inconsistencies in the act such as fines.
In an attempt to fix some missteps, the KCAA announced the staging of a participation forum for public comments, views, and feedback on the proposed drone regulations. The meet was concluded in May 2019.
Now, the KCAA is reminding the public again that flying drones is illegal. The announcement was distributed in the dailies.
“The public is hereby reminded of this prohibition that shall apply to any person who imports tests, operates, procures, assembles, manufactures, or maintains a Remotely Piloted Aircraft in Kenya wherever they may be and operation in Kenya,” reads a statement from KCAA.
As mentioned, the KCAA has been amending the annulled regulations. At the moment, the edited proposal is awaiting prerequisite approval.
By the way, you are liable to a prison sentence of up to 12 months, or a fine of hundreds of thousands of shillings or both if KCAA nabs you being creative with drones.