Local mechanic assembled his manual car in four years

The Kabaka and the archbishop have sat in Kayiira’s car and he hopes the Pope can also bless it during his visit to Uganda next month. PHOTO by ISAAC SSEJJOMBWE

What you need to know:

A local mechanic known as Moses Kayira assembled his own car, which he named ‘Uganda 1’. He attached different parts of other cars and motorcycles to make a fully automated car. He shares his story with Isaac Ssejjombwe.

Who is Kayiira?
I am 37 years old. I have a wife and children. I was born in Kiganda Kooki to the late Jacob Munyanga, I joined Nyondo Garage in the mid-1990s and I started my own garage in 1999. After nine years, I decided to travel to London where I pursued a motor assembling course.

How long did you study this course?
I studied it for two years.

From where did you get the knowledge to assemble a car?
I did a car assembling course in London at Blackburn College.
So from there, I just transferred what I learnt into practice. That college has every course you can think of.

How much did you invest in building this car?
It cost me Shs40m.

With all that money, you could have bought a nice and luxurious car. Why did you have to assemble your own?
I had a dream of making my own car one day, so I was just following my dream.

How long did it take you to build it?
It took me four years to build.

How did you spend all the Shs40m?
We don’t have all the necessary spare parts in Uganda to make a car so I bought materials, transformed them to what I wanted, then started building.
I also used the money to buy things like iron sheets, headlights, tyres, gear box and engine spare parts which comprises four different types.

It took Moses Kayiira four years to assemble this manual using the knowledge he acquired from a college in London. PHOTO by ISAAC SSEJJOMBWE

What type of car did you assemble?
I named it Uganda 1 because it is the first of its kind in Uganda and I believe I am the first person to single-handedly assemble a car in the country.

When did you make this car?
I made it in 2012 but I keep on adding spare parts to give it a face-lift.
Where did you get those materials from?
I bought them from spare parts dealers in Kampala.

I have seen customised number plates (Uganda). Did you pay to have such a type of number plate like others who do on the road?
No, I did not pay for the plates. They are temporary and besides I abide by the road rules. I do not overtake unnecessarily, I obey the traffic lights, my permit is up-to-date, I have insurance and third party and everything that is required of me as a road user.

Is this car manual or automatic?
It’s manual. It has four gears.

When do you drive this car?
I only drive it when going for certain functions because it can only be described as a tourist attraction car. It’s something marketable.

Like to which events have you used it before and at how much?
Most of the times, I take it there free of charge and sometimes I am paid.
I have ever taken it to Mengo during the Kabaka trade show, and then it is always at the annual trade fair show in Lugogo as well as other places.
I was honoured because the Kabaka of Buganda sat in it, and the archbishop has also ever sat in it.
I am also planning for the Pope to bless it when he visits Uganda.

How is its maintenance?
It’s no different from other cars. If something needs to be replaced, then I go ahead and replace it.
Its oil has to be changed at times, I service it once in a while when it needs to and it’s fuel consumption is normal.

How often do you service it?
I service it at 4,500kmph.
Has anyone ever offered to buy this car?
Yes. Someone was willing to give me $3,500 (about 12.6m) but I could not sell it.

Are you the only person who drives this car?
Not really. Anyone can drive it as long as they have a driving permit.

I have also noticed that the steering wheel is on the left hand yet in Uganda people prefer right hand drive cars. Why is this the case?
In America, all cars are left handed and besides that, survival chances are so high in case of an accident when it comes to left handed cars in Uganda.

What is it’s speed limit?

What do you love most about this car?
It’s comfortable and secure. I built it like a race or rally car with roll bars inside that protect both the driver and the co-driver. It has manual airbags.

Its sitting capacity is two people. Why didn’t you make room for more people?
I didn’t have enough finances to exceed two people sitting capacity.
I assembled this car single-handedly with no sponsor.

Was making this car your own idea or some people helped you out?
It was my idea although some people helped me assemble it.

Where did you get the money you invested in putting together this car?
I own a garage called Bakayira Diesel Garage in Kibuye so I used the little money I would get from it to build this car.
That is why it took me four years to complete it.

How much do you spend on fuel?
It’s not so bad when it comes to fuel consumption. It consumes three litres every six kilometres.

What is the farthest journey you have driven this car?
I have gone to Mbale and Rakai.

What challenges have you faced driving this car?
I have not faced any challenge because I built it putting into consideration any bad situation.

Do you have any dream of building another car?
If government or any potential person can support me, I will build another vehicle.
How different is it from other cars on the road?
It’s four wheel drive is more powerful than the ordinary cars because it even participated at Nsimbe Estates rally.

Is this the first car you drove?
No. I had other cars like a Land Cruiser, Premio and others.

What would you like to tell someone out there who would like to help you out?
I would like to call on government to come invest in innovative people like us because it helps in generating more revenue for the country.
And besides that, they should also honour us to motivate other geniuses out there.

The numbers

Amount he spent on assembling the car

4 years
Number of years he took to assemble the car

Spend limit of the car

Kilometres at which he services the car


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