Special Rolls Royce Kananu Used at Her Swearing-In Ceremony

  • The vintage Rolls-Royce Austin Princes Antique Classic used by Governor Anne Kananu during her swearing in.
    The vintage Rolls-Royce Austin Princes Antique Classic used by Governor Anne Kananu during her swearing in.
    Daily Nation
  • Nairobi Governor Ann Kananu made history on Tuesday, November 15, when she was sworn in as the first female Governor of the city-county government.

    The 41-year old was chauffeured to her swearing-in ceremony in a ceremonial limo that few women have managed to ride in - save as spouses for the two former governors and a handful of mayors who had the privilege to use the car in the 1960s and 70s. 

    The 1966 Rolls-Royce Austin Princes was bought by the Nairobi City Council in 1968 - as a ceremonial car for the mayor. It was used by a few mayors before being grounded in the early 80s - only resurfacing in 2013 when Nairobi City Council transformed into the Nairobi County Government. 

    The vintage Rolls-Royce Austin Princes Antique Classic during a 2013 showcase.
    The vintage Rolls-Royce Austin Princes Antique Classic during a 2013 showcase.
    File

    Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke, Nairobi Communications boss Jacob Elkanah confirmed that the vehicle is a ceremonial car used by all incoming governors in the city during their swearing-in ceremony. It was used by Governor Mike Sonko in 2017 and his 2013 predecessor Evans Kidero.

    The vehicle is a rare classic ride and is only one of two available in Africa. The other is found in Zimbabwe.

    It has a shiny navy blue exterior with a Rolls-Royce classic design bonnet and inside, it is stocked with quality leather seats and high-end apartment-style window curtains for ultimate security.

    The car was also a favourite for the city's mayors since Seth Lugonzo became the first mayor to ride on it after it was bought during the reign of his predecessor - Charles Rubia. 

    "Among mayors who ride on the car include Isaac Lugonzo, Margaret Kenyatta, Andrew Ngumba and Nathan Kahara. H.E. Ann Kananu Mwenda is the first female Governor to ride on it," stated Elkanah.

    Records show that the car, which has a customised NCC1 number late, was manufactured in 1966 in the United Kingdom but its purchase was plagued with the usual drama that is characteristic of City Hall politics. 

    Rubia had initially ordered a pure Rolls Royce which was delivered together with big motorcycles meant for outsiders. Kenyatta did not like the symbolism of a mayor enjoying the same privilege accorded to a president. 

    The president's allies questioned its acquisition price and accompaniments. A minister claimed that the car had a boardroom at the back and its driver would need three months of special training in London. 

    “The decision of the NCC to buy Ksh217,000 mayoral Rolls Royce has angered every taxpayer in Kenya. This expenditure is a gross, careless squandering of public money," lamented the then Cooperatives and Social Services Minister Ronald Ngala.

    The initial Rolls Royce was shipped from Nairobi back to London - on President Kenyatta's orders. City Hall then ordered the current vintage car as a less prestigious alternative.

    The motorcycles that had been imported with it were, however, not sent back to the UK.

    Kananu Swearing

    She was sworn in as Nairobi's third governor in a lush event hosted at the Kenyatta International Conference Center (KICC) after the impeachment of his predecessor Mike Sonko in December 2020.

    Kananu had served as the city's acting governor following a lawsuit by Sonko that barred her from officially taking over the office.

    Nairobi Governor Ann Kananu takes oath of office at KICC on Tuesday, November 16, 2021.
    Nairobi Governor Ann Kananu takes oath of office at KICC on Tuesday, November 16, 2021.
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    Ann Kananu