Following a series of assault and murder cases targeting women in unregistered Airbnb premises in Nairobi, the Ministry of Interior has taken action, announcing the immediate registration of all such outlets.
In a notice signed by Dr. Raymond Omollo, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, all Airbnbs in Kenya are ordered to register with the Tourism Regulatory Authority (TRA) starting immediately.
This move by the ministry comes just days after the Private Security Regulatory Authority implemented safety protocols to enhance security in Airbnbs. Currently, security guards are required to record the details of individuals entering Airbnbs, including their time of entry and exit. The guards are also tasked with temporarily retaining the IDs of Airbnb guests.
On January 4, 2024, Kenya was shocked by the brutal murder of 26-year-old Starlet Wahu, who was stabbed to death. This tragic incident was followed by a series of other cases that deeply disturbed the country, including the particularly gruesome murder of Rita Waeni, involving mutilation.
Dr. Johannsen Oduor, the government pathologist who conducted her postmortem, stated that he had never encountered a murder of this nature throughout his entire forensic career. Additionally, some victims displayed signs of sexual violation before their untimely deaths.
Data from Femicide Count Kenya reveals that 504 women lost their lives to violence between 2019 and 2024.
“Starting from 5th February 2024, National Government Administrative Officers, in collaboration with the TRA, will commence stringent inspections of all registered properties,” said Dr Omollo in a statement.
“We will subsequently coordinate with booking platforms to restrict unregistered rentals and further institute severe penalties, including fines and revocation in cases of non-compliance,” Dr Omollo added.
Kenya is a signatory to various international human rights treaties, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention against Torture.
These agreements mandate the government to implement robust measures to prevent, investigate, and address gender-based violence.