After being locked up at Kamiti Maximum Prison for close to three years, Mr Tom Cholmondeley has great plans for the community around his family’s expansive Delamere Estate. Mr Cholmondeley is a director of the Delamere Estate and its sister firm, the Soysambu Conservancy.
According to the estate’s security manager, Mr Jeff Mitto, Mr Cholmondeley plans to sink boreholes that will solve the persistent water problem facing villagers in his neighbourhood.
Mr Mitto also said a dispensary was being built alongside other ventures meant to give local youth jobs and discourage them from engaging in illegal activities such as poaching at the conservancy.
Mr Cholmondeley has been behind bars after being convicted for manslaughter. He shot stonemason Robert Njoya within the Delamere farm on May 10, 2006, and was sentenced to serve eight months in jail.
As a result, he spent almost three years at the Kamiti prison as a remandee and a convict. “Despite the circumstances that befell Tom (as he is popularly known among his staff and neighbours), he has no bitter memories and is still committed to his cause of helping the community,” said Mr Mitto.
According to sources, Mr Chomoldeley was among tens of inmates set free on Tuesday, during the Kenyatta Day celebrations, through a Presidential pardon granted to prisoners who had reformed.
Mr Mitto said the human-wildlife conflict remained a big obstacle to building a strong relationship between the Delamere family and the local community as animals, particularly buffaloes, continued to wreak havoc in the neighbourhood.
The buffaloes stray out of Soysambu, which is home to 13,000 different species of wildlife and 6,000 head of cattle, in search of pasture and water along the Mbaruk River, which has now dried up due to the prolonged drought.
Mr Mitto on Sunday said that they had collaborated with Kenya Wildlife Service to put up an electric fence on a 10-kilometre stretch in Mbaruk area to avert further conflicts.
He was optimistic that the animosity triggered by Mr Njoya’s death would soon be a thing of the past and the two communities would live harmoniously.