- Courtesy Business Jet
Wealthy Kenyans acquired 325 helicopters ahead of the August 9 General Election, according to data obtained from South Africa tax authorities.
The choppers were shipped into the country in 2020 at a value of Ksh3.6 billion by different individuals whose details were not made public.
In 2021, rich Kenyans bought 519 helicopter engines valued at Ksh1.6 billion. However, during that one year period, there were no helicopters imported.
The report only revealed helicopters obtained from South Africa but the numbers might be high as it did not include others shipped from other parts of the world including Europe, the US and Asia.Two choppers transported behind a Haulier track along Mombasa Road in November 2018.
The spike in the number of helicopters brought into the country has been attributed to the intense political campaigns ahead of the August polls. Political leaders have been using choppers that they either own or have hired to crisscross the country.
During elections period, the use of helicopters in the country is always on the rise. Previous reports indicate that in 2005, a total of 212 helicopters were acquired by different individuals mostly politicians to help them crisscross the country.
The report, however, differs from what Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) Director General Captain Gilbert Kibe who stated during an interview in 2021 that the country had only 67 registered choppers by the end of 2020.
Also, Kenya is likely to record high number of choppers as other transit through the Port of Mombasa and the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) before heading to their destinations.
Further reports indicate that imported helicopters from South Africa peak during the elections period. But during other periods, the country acquires spacecraft from Ireland, the US, and Canada, according to an analysis of data from the Observatory Economic Complexity run by the MIT Media Lab.
This comes just days after KCAA issued directives to politicians using choppers to campaign. KCAA sent out a warning over the increase in the number of aircrafts in the country's airspace without following proper protocols, posing danger to users, operators, and the public in general.
“A minimum radius of 30 metres from where it lands or takes off should be maintained. No person or object should be within this area,” Kibe directed political leaders.
The agency also warned the general public from hanging on the planes when they takeoff or landing as it may lead to serious bodily harm.Helicopters belonging to politicians at Dedan Kimathi University during the 2017 Madaraka Day celebrations.File
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