Kenyatta ordered for posh limousine when country was broke

Rolls Royce Phantom V limousine Jomo Kenyatta ordered in 1963. [Photo: courtesy]

In late 1963 as Kenya neared to get independence, then Prime Minister Mzee Jomo Kenyatta ordered for one of then most expensive limousine in the world yet Kenya was broke.

Kenyatta ordered for Rolls Royce Phantom V from the London’s Motor Show that cost hundreds of thousands. He ignored Finance Minister James Gichuru’s advice that the country was bankrupt and thus it was not prudent to buy such a luxury car.

Kenyatta had served as Prime Minister for barely five months when he made this demand that cost the country a fortune. Rolls Royce Phantom V limousine was produced by British manufacturer from 1959 to 1968 and was owned by Queen Elizabeth and her daughter Queen Elizabeth II and some high-profile personalities.

The purchase of the car flouted the first procurement and tendering process. There was no budgetary provision and the Central Tender Board did not call for multiple quotations from suppliers as required.

Interior look of Rolls Royce Phantom V limousine. [Photo: Courtesy]
Former MP Joe Khamisi in his book Kenya: Looters and Grabbers says that single action by Kenyatta of infringing procurement rules set the precedence for civil servants to follow and for corruption to thrive throughout his regime and the three administrations that followed.



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