In Summary

One and the same? Simon Kaheru, 45, the public affairs and communications director at Coca Cola Beverages Africa in Uganda and his younger brother, Crispy Kaheru, 36, the coordinator of the Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) are two of a kind. They share their life story with Desire Mbabaali.

Simon Kaheru

How would you describe Crispy?
Crispy is a serious-minded young man and a true Kaheru. He is very sensible, fair and just and firmly believes in himself, the straight and the narrow. He is also quite cheeky and can be indisciplined when he needs to be – quite like the rest of us.

What is your earliest memory of him?
Crispy was the littlest bouncy baby and like a little toy because of our age difference. He was always round and bubbly and quite the favourite. He almost never got into any trouble and if you made him cry there was hell to pay – unlike with the rest.

What nickname did you have for him growing up?
We just called him Crispy or, as his father would shout out often: “Clip!”

What is he most scared of?
I can’t imagine him to be scared of much – and his career should be evidence of that. Perhaps anything that would put the family name to shame – as we all fear.

What is the craziest thing he did as a child?
Ha. He was a straight arrow – both a mummy’s boy and daddy’s boy. I seem to recall him disappearing once in Masindi but it turned out he was doing something academic at a teacher’s place. He was so serious that he became a teacher while still a child!

What is the craziest thing you did together?
(Smiles) lots – but mostly as adults. We don’t tolerate nonsense easily unless it’s our own nonsense. Everyone says we resemble a lot so there were times we’d be mistaken for each other – which for me was really strange – and we would just go with the flow to the naughtiest point possible.

Were you always friends? / How often did you fight?
We have never fought at all. He’s a good friend and doesn’t cause trouble. Our age difference disappeared when we became adults, so now we are contemporaries.

Did you ever team up to fight someone?
Oh, yes! And we would do so again in a heartbeat if the need arose – trust me! (I can’t give details of that – I certainly wouldn’t want the children to think it’s okay to do so).

How often do you meet these days?
We have family gatherings at least once a month and any time we are all in the same place we will meet up. Now there are also wives and children in the mix which means that, happily, the opportunities to do so are many!

How often do you meet these days?

Quite often! We have frequent family gatherings, so we basically meet up at least once a month. But besides meeting at family gatherings, we bump into each other in different places every so often. We find ourselves in the same spaces from time to time.

Crispy Kaheru

How would you describe Simon?
He’s a big brother in the literal sense. He is quite protective of us. Right from childhood, Simon has always been a strong personality, very assertive and personable. He has a positive attitude towards almost everything. In his world, everything that he sets his mind to, is possible. And that always rubbed off on the rest of us. He has always been the go-to guy, in case one needed to seek advice, outside regular parental guidance. And of course, he was always the cool, smart and focused child (he still is!).

What is your earliest memory of him?
Well, I wouldn’t quite remember. I was born when he was about nine. But he was the kind that always looked out for each one of us at parties or such other family events to make sure we were safe even when we were out playing in safe homely environments.

What nickname did you have for him growing up?
Cy, Simo, Simon. But I also recall that he picked up different nicknames from school including Kayen, and many others that I won’t mention here.


What is he most scared of?
I’m not sure there’s anything that would scare Simon. I haven’t seen anything like that. He’s ever so courageous, regardless of the situation. In fact, he has got such a fearless persona that he even scares heroes; and I’m not kidding about this…check out his blog: scare-a-hero

May be, to the best of my recollection, as a child, Simon had phobia for using towels which were white in colour – but that was only after he joined boarding school! But I think that has since changed.

What is the craziest thing he did as a child?
Simon was different. He may have done silly things, yes, but he was superb at keeping them under wraps. Simon was this serious, focused and engaging boy who always strove to be the best example he could be to the rest of us, in almost everything – from academics to making good friends. He has carried the same into adulthood.

What is the craziest thing you did together?
Many things! I remember one day we chased away some guy who tried frequenting home with ulterior motives. I won’t mention which motives; but just know, we were being our sisters’ keepers.

Were you always friends?/ How often did you fight?
Aren’t brothers what best friends can never be? We didn’t defy that. He has always been a confidant. We’ve never fought; but he has always been there to fight my fights.

Did you ever team up to fight someone?
Oh yes, many times! And I can confirm; each of those fights was worthwhile!