African business, politics and lifestyle
Was white Kenyan aristocrat’s conviction fair?
It’s been almost three years since the son of the 5th Lord Delamere, Thomas Cholmondeley, first hopped down from a police truck and entered into Kenya’s High Court to face murder charges over the death of a local poacher on his estate.
Cholmondeley sat as impassively this week as he did that first day in court as the judge convicted him of a lesser charge of manslaughter.
Although the death penalty is off the table, he still could face life in prison.
Cholmondeley admitted shooting dogs belonging to five armed poachers whom he confronted on his 55,000 acre ranch but denied killing local stonemason Robert Njoya.
The media frenzy surrounding the case has had as much to do with the gin-soaked antics of his British colonial ancestors as with simmering resentment against settlers who snatched large tracts of land during British rule .
The aristocrat’s family is one of Kenya’s largest landowners and is famed for its association with the wealthy white settlers of colonial east Africa’s “Happy Valley” set whose passions for big game hunting, adultery and lavish parties inspired the book and film “White Mischief.” Many Kenyans say there are two laws in the east African nation – one for whites and one for blacks.
Another murder case against Cholmondeley — this one involving a game warden in 2005 — was dropped for lack of evidence.
Lawyers will be back in court on Tuesday to begin the sentencing process. Defence attorneys have already said they would appeal. Was the verdict fair? What sentence do you think he’ll get?