Set Back as Kenyan Legislators Invalidate Drone Regulations

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A drone flies over the archaeological site of Cerro Chepen as it takes pictures in Trujillo
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Back in March this year, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) gazetted the proposed Remote Piloted Aircraft Systems Regulations, 2017 which set to legalize the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones, in Kenya. Well, in an unprecedented turn of events, members of parliament through the committee on Delegated Legislation has declined to approve the regulations citing faults with the regulations.

The committee said that there was very minimal public participation when drafting the regulations, which violates Kenya’s constitution.

Secondly, the committee expressed concerns over personal privacy. They said that the regulations failed to address issues raised on the safety and security of the drones in civilian hands.

Lastly, the house committee pointed out that there were inconsistencies in the application of fines, in particular, the penalty imposed by regulation 56 of Kes.5 million or six-months imprisonment which conflict with Section 82 (4) of the Civil Aviation Act, which allows for the imposition of a fine not exceeding Kes.2 million or three years imprisonment.

As of now, this set back will not only affect Kenyans who were anticipating the use of drones locally but tech companies such as Facebook, Uber and Google and even the Kenya Red Cross who had already expressed interest in acquiring drone operation licenses for various activities.

For now, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority will have to go back to the drawing board and rectify all the issues with the said regulations if Kenya is to ever to have a legal framework for the use of drones locally.

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