•Kenya Human Rights Commission and Kenya Asian Forum said this was not an isolated incident but one of several evictions targeting Asian-owned properties.
•The statement was signed by KHRC chairman Davinder Lamber, executive director David Malombe, and a representative of the Asian forum.
Activists have asked President William Ruto to “personally intervene” in the case where a family in Nairobi's Westlands estate was violently evicted from their house, which was then demolished.
The family was evicted from their home along School Lane on Tuesday by an auctioneer who has since been arrested.
Kenya Human Rights Commission and Kenya Asian Forum said this was not an isolated incident but one of several evictions targeting Asian-owned properties.
“We ask President Ruto, who committed in the Kenya Kwanza manifesto that 'illegal demolitions, including those that do not follow due process, will not be allowed in his government', to personally intervene in this matter, which now lends huge doubts on his commitment to end illegal demolitions,” they said in a statement.
The auctioneer who evicted Avani Shah's family from the home they have lived in for 46 years was arrested on Tuesday by Directorate of Criminal Investigations officers.
Shah told the media that on November 4, someone had shown up to the house claiming they had been in ownership of the house since 2010.
The family said they had a court order dated November 1, 2022 and a notice by the Nairobi council directing that they should not be evicted.
KHRC and the Asian forum said the Shahs had lived on the property for over 40 years and had valid lease documents having renewed them in 1998 for the next 50 years.
They said a private company named ‘Lariak Properties’ claimed to have bought the property in 2010 from Metro Pharmaceuticals, raising pertinent questions on how a property with valid ownership documents was transferred to another.
“Was the lease fraudulently revoked before its time and ownership unscrupulously transferred to Lariak Properties? Even if Lariak Properties had bought the land, why did the company resort to criminal means to effect the evictions? Why was the court order not respected?” the two groups posed in a joint statement.
It was signed by KHRC chairman Davinder Lamber, executive director David Malombe, and by an unnamed representative of the Asian forum.
“We note with deep concern that Kenyans of Asian origin have become targets of criminals effecting violent evictions in the recent past in what is seen as a well-veiled new style of land grabbing in Kenya. Developers have been illegally acquiring land held by members of the Asian community,” they said.
They said other Asian community members previously evicted from properties include Rakha Shah, Parin family, and Niraj and Avani Shah.
They further asked the DCI to speed up investigations into illegal evictions and demolitions.
They also demanded that the Independent Policing Oversight Authority and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights investigate alleged failure by police to respond.
On Thursday, ODM leader Raila Odinga said the auctioneers that descended on the Westlands family should pay for the damage caused and be held accountable.
Speaking in Egypt, he said the auctioneers should reconstruct the house and compensate the owner for the inconvenience.
"For a start, the gang that descended on the Westlands home must be made to pay by reconstructing the house and compensating the owner for the damages and the inconvenience," he said.
Raila said lawlessness and impunity seem to be finding their way back into Kenyans lives, targeting not just individuals but also property in a manner witnessed in a previous era that Kenyans had hoped was gone forever.
According to Raila, the incident should worry both ordinary Kenyans and the government.
"We may be witnessing a quick return to the old practice where individuals with political patronage use their proximity to power to harass innocent citizens and foreigners and take their property," he said.