It was cheers and jubilations on Sunday as Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi received the fully restored 54-year-old Rolls-Royce Phantom IV car that was used by the late Sir Edward Muteesa II.
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 Kabaka Mutebi.
The vehicle was used to chauffer Muteesa on his return journey from exile in the United Kingdom where he had been sent by the British after voicing support for an independent Buganda state.
On return in 1955 to a hero’s welcome, the Rolls-Royce Phantom IV chauffeured Muteesa from Entebbe Airport to his Mengo palace, a journey that took several hours because of the large crowds.
During the 1996 attack that later led to Muteesa’s exile by Milton Obote, the army ransacked Mengo Palace and among the items seized included four Rolls Royces
Three of the Rolls Royces have since disappeared after allegedly being sold off and the Rolls-Royce Phantom IV is the remaining one that was recently handed over to Buganda.
Since 2020, the vintage car has been undergoing refurbishment that cost not less than shs300 million.
Whereas Buganda had hoped to fly the vintage car to England at the Rolls Royce Motor Cars Ltd in West Sussex, this process would cost not less than £400,000(approximately shs1.7 billion).
On Sunday, it was a thunderous applause as the Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga announced to the audience that the vintage vehicle had finally been restored and was ready to be handed to the Kabaka.
““I want to inform you(Kabaka) that the vehicle was refurbished as is now in good working condition , just like it was during Muteesa’s time. This vehicle exudes class,”Katikkiro Mayiga said.
“We thank President Museveni and his cabinet for sitting, deliberating and allowing having the vehicle returned to Buganda.”
Mayiga explained that during the raid at Muteesa’s palace in 1966, in the items destroyed also included three Rolls Royces, two of which belonged to Buganda and one to Muteesa personally.
“We are still trying to follow them,” he said, adding that the one restored was bought for Muteesa by government as the first president of Uganda.