Popemobile Used in Kenya Shipped to Mozambique Ahead of Pope’s Visit

The Popemobile that Pope Francis used in 2015 in Kenya during his maiden visit to Africa has been shipped to Mozambique ahead of his imminent visit, sources involved in the shipment have told ACI Africa.

“The Popemobile left Nairobi for Mombasa port on August 8, and from Mombasa to Maputo on August 17,” the Apostolic Administrator of the Military Ordinariate of Kenya has disclosed.

Having been directly involved in the shipment of the vehicle, Very Rev. Fr. Benjamin Maswili told ACI Africa Monday that the vehicle was expected to arrive in Maputo on Sunday, August 25.

“There has been a delay and its arrival in Maputo has been rescheduled for August 27,” Fr. Maswili said and explained how the decision to ship the Nairobi-based Popemobile to Maputo involved the top leadership of Kenya and Mozambique. 

“I was asked to take it (the Popemobile) to State House for the President to check it,” Fr. Maswili disclosed, recalling the instructions he received from Kenya’s ministry of Defense following the order from the head of State, Uhuru Kenyatta, to have the car in impeccable condition before shipment.


The vehicle was repainted and seat covers replaced to the satisfaction of President Kenyatta, who authorized the vehicle to be shipped to Maputo through the Mombasa port.

The process of acquiring the Popemobile for use in Maputo started in June 2019 with communication from the Vatican to the Apostolic Nunciature in Kenya.

“In preparation of the Pastoral Visit of Pope Francis to Mozambique, Madagascar and Mauritius (4-10 September 2019), the Vatican Gendarmerie contacted the Apostolic Nunciature in Nairobi enquiring about the popemobile in June of this year,” the Pope’s representative in Kenya, Archbishop Bert van Megen told ACI Africa Tuesday.

The Apostolic Nuncio provided details of the technical state of the Popemobile saying, “it must be relatively high so everyone can see the Holy Father when touring through the streets of the city.”

“It (Popemobile) should be stable, sturdy and fast in case of an emergency,” the Nuncio said, adding that the vehicle “needs to have the necessary protection against wind and rain.”

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He confirmed that the car being temporarily transferred to Maputo “met all the special requirements that a Popemobile needs” including being “light and friendly in design.”

“It should therefore come as no surprise that the team of the Vatican, preparing the papal visit, came up with the idea to use the same vehicle for the papal visit in Mozambique as well,” Archbishop van Megen said. 

He noted that “in Maputo the car will be received by the authorities on behalf of H.E. Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, President of Mozambique, ensuring themselves once again that the popemobile is in impeccable condition.”

According to the Nuncio, “Once the papal visit in Mozambique is completed the popemobile will return to Nairobi where it will be stored in a protected place so as to be ready whenever needed again.”

“The Holy See wishes to express its profound gratitude to the President of the Republic of Kenya and to all those were involved in the process for their kindness and their availability in making this enterprise into a success,” Nairobi-based Pope’s representative who doubles as Nuncio to South Sudan concluded.