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Last evening I was having a conversation with Daug Mulumba, the Executive Director of Attitude media, now to Launch Xicario, when we somehow got into the conversation of Ugandans having made a car. (see here )

Car Made by Ugandan kiira EV Motors Company

Kiira EV company now forecast to manufacture their commercial vehicles by 2023 after the completion of their manufacturing and assembling plant. The Kiira EV is an automatic car with a rear camera effective road usage. Its big engine enables a long distance ride and its interior guarantees the comfort of any luxurious car. Having completed the road-test, next in line is the construction of the manufacturing and assembling plant that will see the release of commercial cars by 2023.
Government has supported Kiira EV since inception and their engineers are optimistic that the continuous government funding will see the completion of the plant in Jinja.

Source: []

Personally, I was impressed by the achievement and I thought oh, if Ugandans have made their first car, then we are on the right path. I thought this is good. This is really going to be good because maybe in about ten years or less, Ugandans will be able to purchase these cars at an even cheaper price and so the country will cut down on the level of car importation we are at and you know what, there is even more amazing stuff. Like Kira Motors Cooperation making electric buses (Kayola) that are to be used by the Ugandan public. Now that is even more fantastic. It’s for the people! (Read article on Kayola buses here)

Kayoola Bus expected to road-test in March 2019 along Kampala-Entebbe and Kampala-Jinja Highways

Come to think of it. This is exciting and Ugandans are really doing well in this sense. Kiira EV Motors is doing a great job I believe.

So I asked Daug what his thoughts on the car were and it was his response that provoked me to write this article. It is always good to ask questions and get a perspective what the other person thinks about a certain invention. (Not to take this as ungratefulness, but aside the excitement, this kind of insight too is necessary. Not that Ugandans should throw away the desire for luxury especially concerning the car, but hey, what if some else thinks of something different and its worth the thought.

A project assistant at Makerere University works on a Kiira electric vehicle in Kampala, Uganda in 2011. Photographer: Marc Hofer/AFP/Getty Images


In Daug’s insightful talk, I learned that yes! It is more than excellent that Ugandans made this car, thanks for showing us that this can happen in Uganda buddies, but hey, how about we ask ourselves a few questions.

  1. First of all? With the patriotism spirit aside, what’s so new or innovative about this car that Ugandans who have used trusted brands like Toyota or Mercedes for over thirty years plus, should abandon their trust to purchase a Ugandan made car? (Just food for thought)
  • Secondly, The Ugandan economy doesn’t seem to have been strategically developed to be suitable for Ugandans. Everything seems out of place, everything seems affordable to foreigners and people using other currencies, but not to the majority of struggling Ugandans.  So who is ready to spend their millions in Uganda shillings to buy an MVP of a car made by Ugandans?

Prof Sandy Stephen Tickodri, the principal investigator of the Kiira EV project (L), shakes hands with the Minister of State for Industry, Dr. James Shinyabulo-Mutende, over the new car made by Makerere students during the launch of the Kiira Motor Corporation in Jinja District yesterday. PHOTO BY DENNIS EDEMA 

  • And when it comes to artists especially, the economy seems to have been built to fail us. While other artists elsewhere are having a time of their lives feeding off their inventions, Ugandan creatives are starving. (Well, now I have heard the statement that true artists don’t starve. But you can only say that if you have not visited or stayed in Uganda. The only people who are really getting something are the musicians bleaching copyright and reproducing popular songs made by international artists who are too busy to realize that there is even a country called Uganda or that someone in a country, which is non-existent in their heads, used their beats or translated their lyrics and they are making a money out of it, entertaining other Ugandans who even don’t know that a terms such as copyright exist. ) Or, some of the comedians whose content is actually originally composed by them (that’s good). But what about starving filmmakers, actors, poets, among others? What about the small business owners in the Kampala suburbs? How are they benefiting from this luxury car venture?

Due to the high unemployment rate in Uganda, Ms.Nakiboneka Jane works at a Stone Quarry, Muyenga – Bukasa. Photo by Michael Wandati.

  • How is this car contributing to Uganda’s development? Personally, I might never be able to purchase t that car up to until twenty years from now. How about you make a tractor? I mean, you have so good potential you have made this car but somehow, it doesn’t help the average Ugandan like me and mother or father. How about you made us something we can integrate or incorporate into the Ugandan daily system that life becomes easy for us? Something we can buy you know? Something we attach value to? Something that solves our daily problems? Something we would be really proud to use because Ugandans made it?
With the intensity of this Tripple-down economics in the country, how are families like these in Rakai or Masaka benefiting from the Kiira EV car? Think about it! Can’t there be something else that this company can construct for the likes of this? Afterall. This is where the taxes sponsoring the car ventures are coming from.

These cars are something only the rich few are likely to buy that and oh, they might not even buy it because you see; they bank their money with the Bank of Switzerland, their children are raised and thus study in the United States of America, they vacation in Dubai, and they Shop in Italy. Their cars are made in Germany, The one who has cheaper one, it’s only so because it was assembled in South Africa. So how are they going to buy this made in Uganda car? Unless of course, the government launches a campaign where they stop buying convoys and all those rides for parliamentarians from abroad and start campaigning about this Ugandan initiative by purchasing a whole lot of cars for its parliamentarians. Other than that, the breakthrough seems really far. Even with this perspective coming from a layman like me. These products are for the politicians (maybe), and the rich. Not for the average voter.

Except, the bus is the only thing close to the voter. That is why its name is also very symbolic ‘Kayoola’ no rich person in their right mind would ride in a Kayoola. Huh! The irony. See image below.

A lot of industries are being set up every now and then; there is also a lot of blank space in the country; so much under-utilized resources. We have good soil, good weather, and incredible agricultural opportunities, why not make cheaper, low-cost industrial machines that Ugandans can incorporate into their daily activities? My mother doesn’t drive, so I won’t buy her the made in Uganda car. But, my mother is a farmer. She loves agriculture. Now, I know she wouldn’t drive the tractor but I would buy it for her so that she hires someone to work with it, on her future farm. See? That’s the point. We are all so busy celebrating an invention that’s not helping our immediate needs. It isn’t even building the economy that much. And you know what? Even the people with a lot of money that they can invest in liabilities of that nature are not buying it because they would rather invest their money in a Porsche or Mercedes that they’re certain they won’t disappoint them.

So yes, this is not meant to be the article that waters down the effort that a group of really creative, thoughtful and intelligent Ugandans have made, but it is rather the article that reminds Ugandans to wake up. We love this car yes, but how about you make us things we are not going to be stuck in traffic for over forty minutes? Make us tools for farming; garden tools and stuff like that?

At the end of it all, while you get excited about the Kiira EV, who is going to drive in it? You know who is more likely to.

IMAGE SOURCE: [ Vs Politicians]
Do we have to ask Chinese expatriates to set up plastic making companies in Kampala when there are creative like you? Make us tracks at an affordable price so that every farmer can afford to transport their goods from whatever part of the country to the main centres.
As an average Ugandan, you really have nothing to get excited about. at least not yet!

IMAGE SOURCE: [ Vs Politicians

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