The Observer (Kampala)

31 May 2012

Uganda: Kakaire's Peugeot is the Pride of Busoga

interview

Gracious Kakaire, a power line assistant with Umeme, loves to drive his 1980 Peugeot 404 pickup truck. Polly Kamukama caught up with him at his office in Najjanankumbi and interviewed him about the car.

When did you acquire that car?

It has been in the family since 1980. My father bought it at Shs 800, which was a lot of money back then. He, however, passed it on to me in 2008 because he had grown too old to drive.

You are a young man, why are you driving such an old car?

I grew up around cars and I must admit that the Peugeot is so far my best. I have another car - a Toyota Carina - but it is nothing compared to this one. This car is one of the best. And as you can see, its cushions are still comfortable.

The stereo is amazing and so is the fan; back then, fans were the air conditioners. It has the hardest body I have seen on a car; it has actually never got a dent. I wonder why they gave it a 180km/h speed limit because it goes way beyond that.

It is very stable on the road because it is quite heavy. Everyone knows about this car in my home district of Iganga.

But what exactly do you love about it?

The attention it attracts. Rich people offer me drinks just so I can talk to them about my Peugeot. The kids in Iganga love it so much; they nicknamed it Maiso Mbira (big eyes) because of its big headlamps. It is a very prestigious car that cannot be owned by just anyone.

People come to me with great offers but, of course, I can never sell it. I want to pass it on to my children just like my father did.

How do you compare it to modern cars?

Most of these new Japanese cars are hopeless. I left my Carina for my wife because it is so feminine and light on the road, not like my Peugeot. It also guzzles much more petrol than the Peugeot.

Most of the new pickup trucks cannot even climb uphill when empty yet my Peugeot carries six tonnes and rushes up hills. I use it to carry charcoal, matooke and other home necessities. It is also helpful in transporting dead bodies back to Iganga. My friends love it so much because it helps them a lot.

Any regrets about the Peugeot?

My wife does not like it; she says it is too old. I also miss the days my dad used to drive me in it. He no longer can drive. The spare parts are also expensive and rare though they are genuine.

However, I have so far spent only a little in maintenance and repair because I know how to handle cars. I wash my Peugeot twice a week and detect any faults before they get out of hand.

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