THE IDEA TO SET UP A VEHICLE MANUFACTURING PLANT IN UGANDA CAME FROM PRESIDENT YOWERI MUSEVENI AND NOT STEVEN JEREMY NTAMBI

BY OUR INVESTIGATIVE TEAM

The concept of setting up a vehicle manufacturing plant in Uganda  under Kiira Motors Corporation came from President Yoweri Museveni when he requested a team of engineers led by Prof . Sandy Stevens Tickodri -Togboa at Makerere University to make a detailed proposal of what was required for such a big national strategic venture .

At the time, the faculty of Technology at Makerere University  had set up a vibrant Research and Innovation program in automotive development  called the Vehicle Design Project .  The proposal for vehicles manufacturing in Uganda was prepared by a team of engineers led by Prof Sandy Stevens Tickodri- Togboa assisted  by Mr. Paul Isaac Musasizi and submitted to cabinet for approval.

Subsequently , Cabinet in 2018 approved the UGX 144bn Kiira Motors Roadmap that entailed the strategic objectives of Kiira Motors Corporation which included the set up and operation of the vehicle plants and service centers for the assembly and sell of vehicles and provision of vehicle support products – services that exceed customer expectation.

Other objectives are to facilitate the transfer and domestication of vehicle technology for the enhancement of automotive local content participation through strategic alliances with both domestic and international actors and provide policy advisory and advocacy for developing a sustainable business environment for the domestic automotive market place.

Cabinet also approved the setting up and operation of cutting edge vehicle support infrastructure such as charging stations and facilities to support electric, autonomous and connected vehicles.

It should be noted that Cabinet’s  approval of the Commercialisation of the Kiira Electric Vehicle Project as the best policy option followed a comprehensive appraisal and approval of the Feasibility Study for Setting Up and Operating the Kiira Vehicle Plant by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.

Cabinet then mandated the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, led by Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye  to put in place the necessary Institutional Framework for the Commercialisation of the Kiira Electric Vehicle Project. Cabinet also mandated the Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation to establish and oversee the project governance and management structures.

The falsehoods and malicious fabrications by a one Steven Jeremy Ntambi

Sources  at Makerere University have vehemently dismissed what they called “ fabrication of malicious falsehoods and distortions peddled on social media by  a former  engineering student Steven Jeremy Ntambi.  In his wild and weird   Twitter posts, Ntambi who left the university early 2009,claims that the Kiira EV project was “grabbed” from him because it was “part” of his 4th year final thesis report .

However, our investigations have reveal that Ntambi’s thesis report (which we shall get and report  about in our next article and how he scored ) titled , Vehicle Design Summit’s Vision 200- Design of the Power Electronics focused on design and development of a converter  for the auxiliary power unit and its control strategy .This clearly had nothing to do with the Kiira EV nor the Kiira Vehicle plant.

Earlier in 2008, before he submitted his final year thesis report , Ntambi together with five other students led by Prof. Tickodri- Togboa had as part of an extra -curriculum activity participated in the Torino Vision 200 Summit where 31 universities including Makerere University drawn from the 6 continents had been invited in Italy under a consortium set up by Massachusetts Institute of Technology ( MIT )to build a plug- in- Electric hybrid vehicle .

 The other team members were  Jay Krushna, 4th year, Information Technology, Florence Nakitto, 3rd Year, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering ,Douglas Bibita 4th Year, Rashid Mijumbi, 4th Year, Dativa Tizikara 3rd Year, Emmanuel Ssebbagala 3rd Year, Richard Madanda, 2nd Year, Paul Rwemalla 2nd Year, Maxima Nsiimenta, 2nd Year and Civil Engineering ,Aggrey Kabunga, joined the team with Steven Jeremy Ntambi as the student team leader.

In June 2008, Steven Jeremy Ntambi, Aggrey Kabunga, Paul Rwemalla, Douglas Bibita, Dativa Tizikara and Emmanuel Ssebbagala travelled to Torino for the physical car build. The rest of the team stayed behind to continue with research to support other development activities.

After their successful participation in the Torino project where a plug- in- hybrid vehicle project was developed , the students returned to Makerere and completed their various degree programs, graduated  and left the University including Steven Jeremy Ntambi.

Records at Makerere show that after almost a year of lull,  at around  February 2009, a  new team of engineering students was set up again by   Prof. Tickodri- Togboa  and assisted by  Paul Isaac Musasizi   to start the journey of building  a fully electric two seater vehicle the- now famous “green car” which was originally called the  Makerere Electronic Vehicle and later renamed Kiira EV (Electric Vehicle ) when President Museveni suggested the  new name when he launched it in 24th November 2011.

Makerere University records indicate  that at the time President Yoweri Museveni launched Uganda’s   first fully electric concept vehicle built by Ugandan engineers which he suggested to be called Kiira EV, Steven Jeremy Ntambi had long left the university and did not at any one time participate in the concept designs and the subsequent building of the green  Kiira EV in which president Museveni sat and was driven around the Makerere campus by Paul Isaac Musasizi.

The new team of students who participated in the building of the Kiira EV from late 2009 to Nov 2011 led  by Prof. Sandy Stevens Tickodri Togboa and Eng. Paul Isaac Musasizi  included ,Richard Madanda ( who was the student team leader ) on the project, ( Madanda is now the Director Product Development at Kiira Motors ) and   Fred Matovu  ( Eng. Matovu is now the Electric & Electronic Systems Manager) at the company . Other members on this new second team were , Paul Rwemalla, Patricia Atungire, Gerald Baguma , Maurice Wandera and Nasser Gyagenda . All these were fourth year students. They were supported by Diana Kagimba  who was the only continuing student at the time and was a Student Research Assistant of the Communications Team.  

 Similar to the first team, apart from  Madanda and Matovu who are still working at  Kiira Motors , the rest of the students who didn’t at the time believe in the sustainability of Kiira’s vision and mission of vehicles made in Uganda left and opted to pursue other career opportunities .

Kiira Motors Corporation is formed

Sources further revealed that  once Government started funding the Kiira Electric Vehicle  project with an initial investment of UGX450M in 2010. A decision was made to incorporate the  Kiira Motors Corporation  in 2014. The shareholders are  government of Uganda represented by ministry of science , technology and innovation with 96% and Makerere University 4% .

Other Products developed my engineers at Kiira Motors Corporation

The Kiira  Motors Engineers  have designed and produced the black Kiira EVS hybrid vehicle also known as “The Beast”, the Kayoola Solar Bus which was again launched by President Yoweri Museveni in February  2016 and two fully electric executive buses known as the Kayoola EVS .

The Kiira Motors Corporation has also gone ahead to implement the President’s idea of establishing a vehicle manufacturing plant in Uganda . Under the 2018 Uganda Vehicles Manufacturing roadmap approved by  Cabinet, the company is now constructing the Kiira Vehicles Plant at the  Jinja Industrial and Business Park.

To be continued and we shall expose Jeremy Ntambi’s lies and why he had to resign at KCCA just after four years of work. His peers shall speak out about his disorientation, distortion and extortion tendencies .

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