By John Odyek
Kabaka Ronald Mutebi has received the kingdom’s refurbished Rolls-Royce.
The function took place at the Lubiri Palace in Mengo on Sunday, July 17.
The vintage car, built by British luxury automobile maker Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd, was first used by Uganda’s first president Edward Mutesa, the father of Mutebi.
The repair work was estimated at sh300m.
In 2021, the Buganda Kingdom finalised plans to restore the 54-year-old Rolls-Royce Phantom V car for use by Mutebi.
Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga described the move as historic.
Mayiga told a group of city businessmen at Mengo in 2021 that funds were needed to fix the car and to be used by Mutebi.
Mayiga said they had asked Government to return the car and it was returned, stressing that his administration had two options; either to fly the vehicle to the manufacturer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd, a subsidiary of BMW in West Sussex, England, or to import its spare parts.
He said flying the car abroad proved expensive as it would cost £400,000.
Mayiga explained that they had identified a vehicle with similar parts to the Roll-Royce, and what was needed was getting the sh300m to fix the car and hand it as a birthday present.
He said the challenge of importing a similar car was over dealt with a waiver from the Government. The country bars the entry of vehicles manufactured before 2005.
The works and transport minister, Gen Katumba Wamala, gave the waiver to import the car to use as spare parts.
Mayiga said they had been allowed to bring it tax exempted and get the parts into the Rolls-Royce.
The Katikkiro revealed that a committee, headed by businessman Freeman Kiyimba, with members, including Joseph Yiga, Emanuel Katongole, Godfrey Kirumira and Nnalinya Carol were behind the refurbishing efforts.
He said an entire shs300m was mobilised in a single day for the project to take off.
Mayiga has championed previous fundraisings, including Ettofaali to reconstruct Kasubi tombs, and Twekobe Ejjudde, among others.
Mayiga said the Kabaka had three Roll-Royce, with some registered in his name.
However, Mengo was not upbeat about the project, with some Baganda criticising the move as an unsuitable one that would cost too much.
Prince Daudi Wasajja said the vehicle is a depiction of the 1960s period when their father used to drive it.
“The vehicle has emotional attachment to the Kabaka, the royal family and the kingdom. It is befitting to re-own it,” he said.
Mayiga informed Buganda Parliament in 2005 that government had refused to return the car.
It had been in government hands for 40 years. It was removed in 2013 from State House Nakasero in Kampala, where it had been grounded and transferred to the Uganda Museum.
The car was bought by the central government for Kabaka Edward Mutesa, who was at the time Uganda’s president in 1965.
The Government returned the vehicle on September 17, 2020.
Handing it over to Kabaka Mutesa’s son, Prince David Wasajja, the then tourism minister, Tom Butime, asked Mengo to keep the vehicle as a treasure and allow Ugandans view it.