• The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) has stated use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) , better known as drones, remains banned in Kenya. 
  • Hundreds of imported drones are currently confiscated at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. 
  • The move is a blow to firms offering drone-based services such as photography, as well as humanitarian, health and wildlife conservation sectors.

You risk paying a fine of Sh100,000 ($1000) or spend a year in prison if you get caught using a drone in Kenya.

The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) has stated use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) , better known as drones, remains banned in Kenya after parliament failed to lift the ban currently in place.

KCAA Director-General Gilbert Kibe. (Dailynation)
KCAA Director-General Gilbert Kibe. (Dailynation)

In a public notice on Wednesday, KCAA Director-General 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.”

Kenyan Parliament Building
Kenyan Parliament Building

The move is 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.

Stakeholders have in the past complained that it has taken 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.

Hundreds of drones are currently confiscated at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi as they were being imported at the time when there is no legal framework on drones in the country.

View of Nairobi City from Uhuru Park
View of Nairobi City from Uhuru Park

The House annulled the Kenya Civil Aviation (Remote Piloted Aircraft Systems Regulations, 2017) after finding fault with several provisions dealing with Public participation, safety, security and breach of personal privacy by drones in civilian hands under the Bill of Rights.

Mr Kibe was, however, quick to add that the agency has since incorporated the recommendations the Parliament and public made in the proposed draft before Parliament. After Parliament is satisfied the bill will be forwarded to Mr Macharia for adoption, paving the way for commercial use of drones in Kenya.