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From connections to Ruto: LA Consul General Big Ted’s story

Big Ted, born Thomas Kwaka, is the Consul General of the Kenyan Consulate in the city of Los Angeles, California in the United States of America. He was appointed in April 2022 by former President Uhuru Kenyatta as he was wrapping up his second term ahead of the August 2022 general election.

In a reflective statement on 12 May 2023, Big Ted revealed his connections that led him to work for Kenya’s political elite and eventually land top government appointments.

“At the end of 2017, I was fresh from working on the @railaodinga5th #Youth4Raila campaign with the likes of Ketta Onyango, Don Bosco, Sila Chepkeres, Robert Tongoi and a host of other youths – most of whom are now in legislative positions.

I had honed my skills in the corporate MC world and was looking to make the transition from roadshow truck presenter to the corporate boardroom. I get a call from Jimmi Gathu telling me that he is unable to take a job because of his then job at Citizen TV; and he tells me that he has recommended me for a certain gig and I will get a call.

A certain hoarse-voiced gentleman calls and summons me to the Laico Summit Club. Then the best Nairobi had to offer. It was upstairs, and you couldn’t just walk in. Somebody who was somebody had to call the reception at the business club to get you in. I get there, and this Somali-looking man asks me if I am up to the task and if I can perform on stage.

I tell him “Sir, if you see me on stage fighting a lion, pray for the lion”. He laughs and says, “I need you to meet someone waiting on the corner”.

Also read: No one likes an arrogant winner, Consul General Big Ted advises

I’m sitting there watching the Kenyan corporate and political hobnobs meet and greet, then a slim dark gentleman with a bounce in his step walks up to me and says, ‘nasikia wewe ndio utatufanyia event (I hear you are the one who will be hosting our event)’, I say ‘yes sir, I am the best there is, even my big brother Jimmi Gathu recommended me! He says ‘Sawa, how much will you charge – he asks with one hand in his pocket and gestures with the other. I say 100,000 and he says, ‘No, I will pay you Sh 50,000  and we can work on other things in the future’.

Thinking of how this Sh 50,000 can make my financial worries disappear, I accept and go about planning the launch dinner. I’m told that the dress code is URP (United Republican Party) yellow, or a patch of it and that it’s a fundraising dinner.

This is how I first met Aden Duale, who introduced me to (now President) William Samoei Ruto, and then, through another story, to (now Chief Administrative Secretary) Dennis Itumbi and Bruce who introduced me to (former President) Uhuru Kenyatta,” said Big Ted.

During the regime of former President Uhuru Kenyatta, Big Ted worked as the Director of Brand Strategy and Events at the State House.

Also read: President Ruto’s singing evokes sad memories in American Consul boss, Big Ted