Nairobi senator Mike Mbuvi Sonko being congratulated by Mrs Nilaben Desai and her son Sandeep Desai for saving their monumental home in upmarket Parklands area in Nairobi, which was panned for demolition by a city developer.


Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko has rescued an old Indian woman from a private developer who wanted to demolish her home.

Mrs Nilaben Desai and her son Sandeep Desai could not hide their tears of joy after the outgoing senator moved with haste and obtained a court order that saved the monumental home.

The historic and magnificent house was built in 1920. It was to be demolished to pave way for occupation of half of the 1.7 acres it stands on that was sold in 2008 to businessman Kamal Shah.

It is said that the land was inherited by Desai’s four grandchildren, but two of them sold it and moved out.

Sundeep Desai is the only grandchild who lived on the land, but has since moved out to pave way for the demolition.

However, Senator Sonko said it will be unfair to demolish the house, since Sandeep’s mother occasionally spends time in there.

“If this house is demolished, Sandeep’s mother will be affected. She will have nowhere to go. As the Senator of Nairobi, I represent all people. This is a family affair, but the interests of every city resident have to be taken care of,” he said.

Sonko said he has agreed with Shah’s agents that Sh250 million to Sh300 million be given to the Desais so they can buy another land and build a modern house.

“That will be fair so the Desais can be adequately compensated, even if their house is brought down. Bringing down half the house without getting Sandeep’s mother an alternative place to live will be unfair,” he said.

“She is old and we need to take care of the old. This arrangement is only on humanitarian grounds.”

Shah’s agents confirmed they agreed to the cash settlement.

They said although one half of the land is theirs and they want to fence it off, they are considering paying off the Desais before bringing the house down.

“We are doing valuation and we will agree on the correct settlement. For now we are discussing the issue and we will communicate once everything is clear,” the agent, who requested anonymity, said.