Exultation  and tears of joy greeted Kayoola Diesel Coach ( KDC) -the latest product built and produced by Uganda’s Automotive Industry flagship -Kiira Motors Corporation (KMC) when it made its maiden trip to West Nile, Northern, Karamoja and Eastern regions of Uganda .

Covering a distance of 1,833 kilometers-the  high-end  executive bus-  was received by  hundreds of thousands of enthusiastic  Ugandans and their local leaders who celebrated yet another major milestone registered by Kiira Motors Corporation in the development of Uganda’s nascent automotive industry -that’s championing green mobility technologies in Africa .

The 47 -seat executive  coach -the first of a kind in the East  and Sub Saharan -Africa- was unveiled by the automotive industry leaders -Kiira Motors at  UPDF’s  Luwero Industries in Nakasongola last  month . Kiira Motors is led by Prof Sandy Stevens Tickodri-Togboa who is the Executive Chairman and Mr. Paul Isaac Musasizi the company’s CEO.

Local leaders ,excited Ugandans speak out as Muni University students get inspired

In Aura, the local leaders  led by the  Resident City Commissioner , Mr.  Martin Orochi  received  a team of KMC engineers and support staff led by Prof Tickodri  and  welcomed Uganda’s  new innovation while  applauding  the  team at KMC  who built the bus  thus proving to the rest of the  world that  Uganda was now ready to produce commercial vehicles locally.

Mr. Orochi said that  Arua city had a ready market for Kiira Motors buses made in Uganda and urged the local bus companies like Gaga , California, Gateway to buy buses which are produced locally and promote  government ‘s policy of  Buy Uganda ,Build Uganda (BUBU ).

Flanked by  the incoming  MPs, John Lematia for Ayivu West and Jackson Atima for Central Division constituencies , Orochi said Arua was an investment hub and was ready to offer land to KMC to set up a car -showroom for vehicles made in Uganda.

MP elect Jackson Atima was elated to note that Kiira Motor’s  home grown green mobility technologies  have  grown and matured from a two seater  Electric vehicle EV to fully electric buses and now an executive coach which has been designed and built by Kiira Motors for  long distances .

The MP for Arua Central Division Jackson Atima , pledged that while in the 11th parliament he will rally his colleagues to push for the growth of Uganda’s automotive Industry which will provide many economic opportunities to the largely unemployed youth .

Arua Mayor , Isa Katto  called upon government to buy vehicles made by Kiira Motors and lead  by example to save millions of dollars that the country loses in the importation of vehicles

 At Muni University , Vice Chancellor , Ms.  Christine Dranzoa told her students to get inspired by the KMC’s products and apply their knowledge to practical development work.

In  Nebbi crowds of school going children and the locals while exercising social distancing measures  due to Covid-19 pandemic- inspected the buses led by the RDC,  Robert  Abak and MP elect   Gabriel Okumu . The leaders said that with the elections season behind us it was time for Ugandans to follow the KMC example and focus on development work to secure their future .

In Pacwach -the gateway to West Nile region , the LCV Chairman , Mr. Robert .S. Omito, CAO Ms. Stella Abyeto and local leaders who included Mr. M. Alenyo  led the residents in   a march around Pacwach town to celebrate advancements made in Uganda’s car industry . The leaders invited KMC to set up-shop at the  500 acres – Pacwach  Science and Technology Industrial park as the company scales-up its mission vehicles made in Uganda.

Similar scenes of jubilating Ugandans were recorded in Gulu, Lira , Soroti and Karamoja regions as people lined the streets to cheer , take selfies and others stayed  in long queues to inspect and have a feel of “our bus”.  The Leadership of Lira led by  RCC Lawrence Engole, City Executive Director  Mr.David Kyasanku , Mayor Mike Ogwang boardes the bus and drove around the city to showcase innovations coming out of Uganda.

In Moroto DCAO Peter Gidongo and RDC Kiizi used the Kayoola Diesel Coach which is designed for tourism expeditions -to have a panoramic view of   Karamoja’s beautiful mountainous scenery .  

In Soroti ,Mbale and Tororo

The popular Mbale  City Resident Commissioner ,Ms. Pamela Watuwa, told journalists during the drive that the building of  the Kayoola Diesel  Coach  and fully electric buses in  Uganda is an indicator that the country is geared towards securing the future of its citizens.

Anthony Mutenyo, the Chairperson of Mbale Trucks Association on Naboa Road, said it is good for the country to produce such “precious things.” He said the production of buses in the country will reduce on the cost of transport and congestion especially  in cities / urban centers.

Ronald Owembale, a boda boda rider and his friends said that since the country has started manufacturing buses, they now await to hear that they are also producing aircrafts. He said the job done was commendable. 

Ahamada Shaga, and Bashir Silikye all residents within the City expressed joy at seeing the Kayoola  Coach  They said the bus was awesome and so luxurious and hope that  the growth of the local automotive industry  twill benefit the youths especially those unemployed.

The Soroti City Resident Commissioner, Robert Adiama Ekaju said the Kayoola buses will save Uganda a lot of money that has been lost in purchasing buses from foreign countries. “We should make Ugandans know that we need to support these local products. We should support our own,” Adiama said.

Tororo Mayor Mr. John Opio, Deputy RDC Moroto,William Senoga, deputy RDC Tororo Yahaya Were and Iganga RDC Thomas  Matende all saluted KMC staff for putting Uganda on the global map of car manufacturers .

The special features  on the Kayoola Diesel Bus

Fitted with  combustion diesel engine the  Kayoola Diesel Coach –  the newest item on the KMC product mix can cover a distance of 2200 kilometers with a 500 litre fuel tank locking in  a fuel efficiency range of 22 litres per 100 kilometers .

“The bus is spacious with reclining 47 leather seats that have good leg room,  foldable tables, cup holders and USB charging pots. The Comfort is at the heart of the design. It is a bus that meets the requirements of travelers upcountry, across the border and tourists. The configuration of the seats can be increased up to 60 depending on a client’s choice,” said  Mr. Allan Muhumuza the Director  Marketing and Sales at Kiira Motors.  As facilities on the KDC is a toilet that can serve all its 47 passengers .

Is Kiira Motors assembling or Manufacturing buses

This has been a long on-going debate but it seems settled now .  According to Musasizi, KMC designs and integrates all the systems on the vehicles it builds. The KMC’s vehicles’ components are contract manufactured until the domestic and regional automotive supply chain localization  achieves the required  technical capabilities/ capacity and economies of scale to justify domestication of those functions. 

The Kayoola buses both the Diesel Caoch and the Fully Electric ones have been built locally at the UPDF Luwero Industries . The steel body-frame for the Kayoola EVS and some of the body panels for the Kayoola KDC have all been locally sourced  including paint and other materials .

What next for Uganda and the Kiira Motors vehicles

Kiira Motors Corporation is now working with reputable strategic partners to produce  at least 1,000 buses  for Kampala and other cities in the East Africa region .

The company and its  partners plan to produce and deploy 1,030 Buses by end of 2021, 50 of which will be electric. The initiative is aimed at modernizing public transport in the urban centers in Uganda and beyond, while building the indigenous motor vehicle industry through technology transfer and localization of auto parts manufacturing.

Kampala and other Cities in the region have for decades faced challenges of road and traffic congestion, pollution, unemployment and under employment resulting into low fuel economy, poor air quality, low labour productivity, and compromised road safety.

The  venture to produce buses locally therefore, is  projected to create over 30,000 jobs directly, 100,000 job indirectly, and catalyze investments by Micro Small and Medium Enterprise in the manufacture of motor vehicle parts. The strategic and long-term focus on electric buses for the cities further demonstrates Uganda’s commitment to enhance environmental stewardship.

Who was on board the Kayoola Diesel Coach on this  maiden tour

Driven by  Moses Wasswa Kalule  assisted by Fred  Kayemba  who were part  of the KMC team   that built the Kayoola Diesel bus at the army base in Nakasongola, other team members on board included  Engineers Allan Muhumuza who is the Director Marketing and Sales and was also the team leader , Richard Madanda , Director Product Development , Fred Matovu, Power Train and EE-Systems Manager, Senor Legal Officer, Counsel Elias Bwambale , Media Strategist Ms. Ruth Nasejje , support staff , Milly Nakabubi and Godfrey Ocan. They were joined by Ms. Rachel Landman ,Director at The Adventure a tourism company in Uganda.


Writer is a media and communications consultant And Advocate of the High Court of Uganda


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