It seems the era of monster cars aka “beasts” for presidents has dawned upon us.
Uganda’s presidential hopeful, Amama Mbabazi, has unleashed a Shs 3bn armoured Land Cruiser V8 ahead of 2016 general elections.
Already termed as the “Beast” in relation to US President, Barack Obama’s “The Beast” that recently caused a stir in Kenya, Mbabazi’s new ride is only three levels behind Obama’s.
According to its features, Amama’s beast as media is already terming it, can repel a gun or bomb attack.
Its seats and door panels are trimmed in soft leather, real-wood adorns the dash and steering wheel and fit-and-finish is impeccable.
There is room for seven passengers in the three rows of seats, and cup holders (12) and storage nooks abound.
It also has a voice-activated DVD navigation system with an integrated backup camera, a six-disc CD changer, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with a 9-inch display and two wireless headphones, multi-state second-row heated seats, a center console cooler box and headlamp cleaners, among other features.
Last year, Mbabazi caused a stir when he appeared in a Shs 600m Mercedes Benz but he has since upgraded to another level.
While Mbabazi is shaping himself for a presidential outlook, Museveni is aiming a bit higher.
Museveni’s luxurious toys
In 2012, government spent Shs 6bn on two armoured limousines for the President Yoweri Museveni.
Buyaga County MP, Barnabas Tinkasiimire, the then chair of the committee on presidential affairs, said Museveni was emulating the opulence that characterised the reign of 17th Century French King, Louis XVI, who was dethroned in the 1789 French Revolution and executed as a traitor is the subsequent Reign of Terror.
One of the two limousines was first publicly seen at the Independence Grounds in Kololo during celebrations to mark 50 years of Uganda’s self-rule.
The custom-built Germany-made Mercedes Benz S500 Pullman Guard, in which Museveni dazzled at Kololo, took the authorities more than a year to procure in a delicate top-secret process, reports Daily Monitor.
In 2009, Museveni’s special jet that cost taxpayers Shs 88.2bn arrived in the country.
The Gulfstream V No. N908GA 52008 was purchased to replace a Gulfstream IV which was bought at Shs 60bn in 2000.
Museveni’s Gulfstream IV later sold in December 2009 in the US– in a deal that fetched the country $10 million (about Shs20 billion), half the expected value.
Museveni is now buying Shs 11.3bn chopper
In the 2015/16 budget, government proposes to raise Shs 460bn in new taxes, spend Shs 150bn on the general elections, buy a helicopter for the president at Shs 11.3bn and acquire land in Saudi Arabia, China and Burundi at Shs 24bn.
While his rival and former Prime Minister is cruising a V8, Museveni will be flying a Shs 11.3bn helicopter.
According to the NBFP, the procurement process started this financial year.
Other funds are also being set aside to buy the president another specialized vehicle for the next financial year.
And so continues the new era of politicians and luxurious machines.