Kenya Denies Ugandan Pilot Work Permit

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In short
Captain Ronald Denis DUjanga, a South Africa-trained pilot has been hired by airliner Fly540 since mid-2016, but the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority KCCA is refusing to give him a letter of no objection in order to allow him work freely.

A young and promising Ugandan pilot working in Kenya is on the verge of losing his job since the aviation authorities are declining to endorse his employment.
  
Captain Ronald Denis D'Ujanga, a South Africa-trained pilot has been hired by airliner Fly540 since mid-2016, but the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCCA) is refusing to give him a letter of no objection in order to allow him work freely.

Fly540 is a low-cost airline based in Nairobi, Kenya, that operates domestic and international passenger and freight services.
  
On June 21st 2016, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority granted Captain D'Ujanga a commercial pilot license Number YK-9921-CL.
  
According to the license, Captain D'Ujanga is authorised to fly Group One land planes Cessna C172, BE76 and CRJ100 in accordance with the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority Act and the Air Navigation Regulations and Provisions of the International Convention on Civil Aviation.
  
The license reads in part that the holder of the license, Captain D'Ujanga, "is hereby authorised to fly as pilot of aeroplanes in accordance with the terms and conditions specified herein, provided he also holds a Current Certificate of Validity in respect of this license and a Flight Radio Telephony Operator License".
  
The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority granted Captain D'Ujanga the license based on his Ugandan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) license Number CA1285 issued on September 9th 2013.
  
Armed with the two licenses, Captain D'Ujanga last year landed a job with Fly540. After undergoing induction training, he was given a job in which he earns 195,000 Kenyan shillings, equivalent to seven million Uganda shillings per month.
 
In order to formalise his employment, Fly540 Chief Executive Officer, Don E. Smith, on April 28th 2017 wrote to the Kenyan Civil Aviation Authority for a letter of no objection, a process that is supposed to be a formality since Captain D'Ujanga qualifies for work as a pilot in Kenya.
  
But Captain D'Ujanga got a rude shock when the Kenyan CAA replied declining to give him a letter of no objection.
  
According to the reply dated May 11th 2017, a one Captain Ogenche, writing on behalf of the Kenyan CAA Director-General, stated that "we are not able to grant this letter considering that the above-mentioned (Captain D'Ujanga) is a trainee pilot on the DHC-8 aircraft".
  
The DHC-8 also known as Dash-8 is a twin-engine, medium range turbo-propelled aircraft with good performance during extreme short take-off and landing.
  
The Kenyan CAA said it is "of the opinion that there are so many other Kenyans who can take over Captain D'Ujanga's position given the same opportunity".
  
The Kenyan CAA then advised Fly540 to "source for personnel from the local market in compliance with the requirements of the Aeronautical Information Circular No. 6/2003 of 29th May 2003.
  
Interestingly, the letter bases the denial decision on a 2003 law contrary to the East African Common Market Protocol to which Kenya became a signatory in 2010.
 
Another interesting twist is that just in February this year, the very Kenya Civil Aviation Authority gave Captain D'Ujanga a CJ-100 rating, which qualifies him for much superior aircraft.
 
The East African Common Market Protocol, which Uganda signed in 2015, allows workers from any Partner State to accept employment within any other EAC country.
 
Rwanda is another signatory to the protocol. Tanzania, Burundi and South Sudan are yet to sign it.
 
The protocol prescribes that a worker from any partner state cannot be discriminated against on the basis of their nationality.

According to the agreement, professionals from partner states with employment placements do not need to apply for work permits but rather register with national professional associations. Professionals without association can get a job and start working straightaway.

In the case of pilots, one requires a letter of no objection from the regulator, in this case the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority.

Captain D'Ujanga is fighting the decision to deny him the opportunity to work in Kenya.
 
Speaking to Uganda Radio Network, the pilot says he went to the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority Director-General Captain Gilber Macharia Kibe who told him such a job should be given to Kenyans.
 
According to Martin Wandera, the Director of Labour in Uganda's Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development, the East African Community Common Market Protocol is still on paper, adding that in it Kenya, as he put it, "gives with the right hand and takes with the left hand".
 
Wandera says Kenya's position is that only professionals from partner states who are 30 years and above, and therefore presumed to have experience, are the ones entitled to gain employment as expatriates.
 
Wandera says that, since Captain D'Ujanga is less than 30 years old, that could be one of the reasons the Kenyan CAA is denying him the letter of no objection.
 
Kenya, in its regulations, asks employing organisations to prove that there was a Kenyan understudy, before applying for and getting an expatriate's work permit. The organisation is mandated to show proof by providing an understudy's identity card, curriculum vitae and copies of academic papers.
 
Captain D'Ujanga's father, Engineer Simon D'Ujanga, who is also the Minister of State for Energy, told Uganda Radio Network that Kenya Civil Aviation Authority is claiming that his son is a trainee on an inferior aircraft yet his license and rating show that he is a commercial pilot on a jet aircraft.
 
Minister D'Ujanga questions why Kenya CAA, which gave him a CRJ 100 rating in February this year, turns around saying he is a trainee on an inferior aircraft in May.
 
According to D'Ujanga, the claim must be an error or a deliberate misrepresentation in order to deny Captain D'Ujanga the opportunity of employment.
 
A flight roster for Fly540 indicates that Captain D'Ujanga is referred to as a First Officer flying much superior aircraft.
 
Minister D'Ujanga wondered why Kenyans, some of whom are not even qualified, easily get employment in Uganda and the reverse is true for qualified Ugandans in Kenya.
 
The State Minister for Foreign Affairs in charge of Regional Cooperation, Okello Oryem could not be reached for a comment as his known phones were off.
 
On equal treatment in employment, the East African Common Market Protocol provides for, among other things, appropriate measures to ensure that the same treatment is accorded to the workers from other Partner States as is accorded to the nationals of the Partner State.
 
Others are access to vocational training, which Captain D'Ujanga did, the freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining, access to dispute resolution mechanism, and any other right accruing to a worker under the provisions of the national laws of the Partner State.
 
This is with regard to terms and conditions of employment, equal opportunities for both men and women and in particular, access to employment, occupational health and safety, and contribution to a social security scheme.
This is a developing story and attempts are being made to get comments from the Kenyan authorities.
 
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About the author

David Rupiny
In his own words, David Rupiny says, "I am literally a self-trained journalist with over 12 years of experience. Add the formative, student days then I can trace my journalism roots to 1988 when as a fresher in Ordinary Level I used to report for The Giraffe News at St Aloysius College Nyapea in northern Uganda.


In addition to URN for which I have worked for five years now, I have had stints at Radio Paidha, Radio Pacis, Nile FM and KFM. I have also contributed stories for The Crusader, The New Vision and The Monitor. I have also been a contributor for international news organisations like the BBC and Institute for War and Peace Reporting. I am also a local stringer for Radio Netherlands Worldwide.


I am also a media entrepreneur. I founded The West Niler newspaper and now runs Rainbow Media Corporation (Rainbow Radio 88.2 FM in Nebbi). My areas of interest are conflict and peacebuilding, business, climate change, health and children and young people, among others."