By Alex Balimwikungu
Their marriage, 10 years ago, drew massive attention both locally and internationally. It drew parallels with Eddie Murphy’s popular movie, Coming To America.
Unlike in the movie, where an African prince went to America to find love, here, it was an African princess who went to America to find love. Once there, she fell for this Missouri-based accountant. Their wedding, back in Uganda, was one of the most talked about. They graced front page covers.
When he landed at Entebbe International Airport, Christopher Thomas had the aura of someone who was shocked by all the attention and media glare – he hailed from an average Missouri family, under the tutelage of his Church minister mother, Alecia Thomas and four siblings.
For marrying into royalty, he assumed the name Duke Christopher Thomas. A street smart accountant, he milked every opportunity, demanding some media outlets outrageous fees in regions of $100,000 (about sh350m then) to grace magazine covers with his bride. He was later to realise that Uganda is not America where the Oprah Winfreys pay celebrities for such interviews. He later pocketed offers as little as 100k.
Christopher started a cosmetics shop and also launched his own cosmetics line dubbed Flawless. His cosmetics line consisted mostly lip gloss which went for 25k, but in reality, many were interested in his lips than his products. He closed shop when he realised he was making no sales
Poor Thomas. Even as an African-American, he had not been briefed about the African proverb that as long as the bed shakes, the house will be stable. He lapped in the social media adulation and hit the mandatory 5,000 Facebook friends then in record time. He allegedly paid attention to the hundreds of Ugandan girls some of whom earmarked him as a “mountain that had to be climbed”.
In one year, to the agitation of many, the couple had called it quits. Princess Ruth Komuntale then said she wanted a new life after what she called “poisonous broken marriage with the wrong person”.
True to form, Christopher Thomas first went to cool off in the US, but later came back to Uganda since it felt like home. He started a business in Kampala. He started a cosmetics shop and also launched his own cosmetics line dubbed Flawless. His cosmetics line consisted mostly lip gloss which went for 25k, but in reality, many were interested in his lips than his products. He closed shop when he realised he was making no sales. Besides, he was as broke as a budget tourist.
Close friends recall that although Thomas was determined to stay in Kampala, his family, worried about his welfare, implored the US embassy to expedite his travel back home.
Then, he was singled out as the only American citizen in Uganda surviving on less than a dollar a day. Then, he depended on few friends and smitten girls to get along. He was not looking like the wretched of this town.
He had burnt his fingers with the Toro Kingdom and many high placed royals in the kingdom were concerned about how much embarrassment he could bring them by his continued stay here.
Two years after sketching life here, with all the drama and misfortune in love, Christopher Thomas flew back to the US.
He was helped by the US Embassy to see him go back to the US. It was a time he suffered a debilitating motor accident in Kampala. At the time, he was adamant his lip gloss business would thrive.
Once back in the US, he found love and had children with an African-American lover. They had two children at the time of his death.
Christopher passed away on January 9 in the US where he was reportedly staying.
His sister, Cretia Thomas, announced his death on Tuesday morning. “In 2021 I lost 7 Family Members. Including My Son Jaylin. I’m Trying to be strong after that. Now on January 9, 2022 I have lost my brother Thomas… Lord I haven’t healed from my son. Please give me strength. I just had my last conversation with him,” Cretia posted on Christopher’s page.
She did not reveal what caused his death.
A friend Cheron Wallace-March said, “Oh, my friend, my bro. I’m truly at a loss. Get your rest Christopher. Please keep his mom, Pastor Alecia Thomas, his siblings, April Thomas, David Thomas, and William, and all family members and loved ones affected, in your prayers. Hurt is all through this traumatic ordeal and prayers would be appreciated and is continually needed. Thank you all in advance. Keep my loved ones in your loving arms, God.”
Komuntale got married to Christopher at a royal wedding in November 2012, but their marriage ended in a bitter divorce a year later. Ten years later, he is dead.