[Photo: Business today Kenya]
Jan, 8th 2021 – National Intelligence Service (NIS) now wants landlords and property owners to keep record of tenants personal details under a proposed law that is likely to raise further concerns about surveillance by state security agencies.
The tenats registry, which will be made available to the state will contain the names, phone numbers, postal addresses and emails of the tenants.
NIS has lobbied the National Assembly’s Administration and National Security committee to include the requirement of the registry in the Narcotics, Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Amendment Bill.
They will also be expected to conduct background checks on their tenants so as to include their home country and employment stations to allow for easy tracking.
Although the registry is viewed as a weapon against drug lords, it will provide NIS and the police with background information of over five million Kenyans that have rented homes and office spaces.
A fine of sh1 million or two years in jail will fall on property owners who will breach keeping of records and conducting background checks on tenants.
The committee in amendment to the Bill said, “Every owner, occupier or persons concerned with management of any premises, shall keep a register in his premises and shall enter the name and address of every tenant and occupier who occupies the premise. The rationale of the new section is to provide for landlords and owners of buildings to conduct due diligence on their tenants and occupiers of their premises.”
This push for a tenants registry comes at a time when the state seeks to boost its surveillance of communications believing that there could be a national security breach. According to a 2019 population and Housing census, 4.66 million households reported living in rented places.
Lawmakers on the other hand have suggested for a number of new sections be inserted in the Narcotics, Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Control) Amendment Bill to increase on the penalties given to offences of trafficking narcotic drugs.
Intelligence Operatives are using secret surveillance programs to spy on emails and social media and also collect data on telephone calls so that any crime considered a threat to the national security could be easily identified. The crimes that are considered a threat to the national security are weapons and guns that are shipped in from neighboring countries entangled in civil wars and smuggling of drugs.