Journo up for operating unregistered drone Columbus Mavhunga

Court Correspondent

FREELANCE journalist Columbus Mavhunga this week appeared at the Mbare Magistrates Court for allegedly operating a drone without the requisite licence from the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe.

Mavhunga (46) was caught when he crashed it into the Iqra Islamic Centre in Waterfalls.

He was charged with violating the Civil Aviation Act for not having his drone licensed and was released on US$50 bail and ordered not to interfere with investigations.

The court heard that around midday on Sunday, Mavhunga was flying a drone above the Iqra Islamic Centre, but failed to control it and it rammed a pole and crashed before it was confiscated by centre administrator Pharoh Osward (53).

Mavhunga, the court heard, demanded the release of the drone saying he was using it for news gathering but Mr Osward declined to give it back and instead filed a report at Waterfalls Police Station. Mavhunga was then arrested.

Iqra Islamic Centre also filed a complaint of trespass and invasion of premises.

Speaking before Mavhunga’s court appearance, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the drone was a Mavic 2 Pro model Lip drone which he was operating along Masotsha Ndlovu Way near Simon Mazorodze Road when it rammed the Iqra Islamic Centre building and fell down.

“A misunderstanding ensued resulting in the centre’s administrator Pharoh Osward (53) making a report to the police.”

Asst Comm Nyathi urged individuals and institutions to ensure that they obtained licences to operate drones and engage neighbours if using drones for private purposes.

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