No family planning as fertile Kiira conceives another baby
In matters of technology, change keeps changing at an increasingly changing rate. Or to reduce on the tongue twister, technology grows at a growing rate. For example, from the time Jesus Christ rode a beast into Jerusalem, it took mankind another nineteen centuries to put a “horseless” carriage on the road. But a mere nineteen years after Karl Benz developed the first gasoline powered car, man overcame gravity as the Wright brothers lifted a plane off the ground in the first powered (non-glider) flight in December 1903.
In that same (20th) century, specialized planes developed both for passengers and for war broke the sound barrier and flew faster than sound, while unmanned flights took to the skies in form of guided missiles. Space travel vessels were deployed and took man to the moon in 1969. And in the 1990 “mother of all battles”, the world was fascinated by Israel’s toy-like flying objects that came to be called drones. By the close of the 20th century, the world was getting saturated by mobile phones.
In Uganda, the growth and application of transport technologies, spearheaded by Kiira Motors Corporation is following that trend. It was in 2011 when the little, green first car to be developed and built in Uganda buy Ugandans, the Kiira EV, was showcased at Makerere University. And if anybody thought it was a joke, the president, Gen Yoweri Museveni went and rode in it. In 2014, the Kiira released another proof of concept vehicle, the SMACK. Then the Kayoola solar bus was also driven around in 2016.
Since the cabinet sitting at Sate House Entebbe in April 2018 which approved the commercialization roadmap for the Kiira stable of vehicles, the cerebral and physical output at KMC has been rising at a rising rate. The first Kayoola electric bus for the market was designed and built in China by Ugandan engineers, before being built by the same KMC Ugandan engineers at the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces’ Luwero Industries at Nakasongola. The second Kayoola Bus which was ready this December 2019 was wholly built at Nakasongola.
The two fully electric driven and serviced buses, the most modern that Kampala has ever seen, have a capacity to carry 90 passengers, some standing and are ideal for city routes.
“They are now available to show potential customers and the market in general what is on offer from KMC,” says Allan Muhumuza, the KMC business development manager.
But there is even more to come in 2020. According to Muhumuza, another four buses for showcasing are to be built and released in 2020. And guess what! Two of them are going to be coaches for long distance travel. Obviously, these will carry less than the 90 passengers the city Kayoola EVs carry. But Muhumuza does not give the exact number as it also varies.
“It is the configuration which determines the number a bus carries,” Muhumuza says. “The more executive the fewer the seats.”
From the little fastback, the saloon, the solar bus to the electric city buses the fertile Kiira is now pregnant with the Kayoola coach. If KMC were a woman, in Luganda they would say she has nabaana owekisa – a generous uterus.
But KMC’s fertility is not for fun; it is an existential issue for survival of Ugandan society as an independent nation. In this era when fuel combustion mobility is destined to the dustbin of history, Uganda is on track to develop its own transport technologies. Not doing it would condemn the country to ever depending on outsiders for such a basic and vital; sector as transport, moreover while exporting its raw material inputs for vehicle manufacturing cheaply. What else can Uganda and Africa ask for ?