How would you describe yourself?
I wear many hats. I am a communicator, a father and a husband. I made a footprint both in print and electronic media. At one time I was the only Ugandan journalist, who was working on radio, television and print at the same.
Which medium do you prefer working with?
I choose television. I am not as good at writing as I am in presentation. I believe there are people who are like me. For instance, having a conversation with Charles Onyango Obbo would send you to slumber. But when he writes, I can read his entire book. Similarly, Daniel Kalinaki has got a great sense of humour, but I struggle to understand his writing style. So, I am very comfortable in front of the camera.
Your signature dresscode is a bowtie. Why do you love bowties so much?
I am in love with bowties because the material of one necktie is enough to make three bowties. Bowties are my cost-cutting measure. But on a serious note, I love bowties and I have an assortment of them. I am a columnist in Male grooming and I regularly tip men on what they should wear. Many times, people remember how we Iook like than what we say.
What are some of the key highlights in your career?
The experience I got in sourcing stories left an indelible mark on my life. Some of the key highlights
in my career include staying up all night with most of the international news channels such as CNN were waiting to interview a minister and he slept live on television, the story of Kiiza Besigye’s return from exile in South Africa. More specifically, I cannot forget when I was assigned to interview the president of Burundi, Pierre Nkurunziza and I missed a flight. The entire delegation from Nation Media Group in Nairobi and Uganda was there except me. I had requested the driver to wake me up at 4am, but he did show up. I woke up to a phone call from my editor, Joachim Buwembo, who said: “Simon; I am told you are still in Ugandan but do all you can to get me that interview”. I got the story three days later.
You juggle many roles. Does that mean you bag a fat pay cheque?
I hope you are not sending me straight to the tax man, stripers or thieves. For all the things I do, money is not the motivation. The day you see me in a G65AAMG Mercedes Benz, you are at liberty to conclude that Kasyate is rich. For now, one thing for sure, I live comfortably, within my means.
Who are some of the exceptional journalists locally and internationally?
The likes Rosemary Church, Hala Gorani, Tumi Makgabo, Mike Hanna, who now work with Aljazeera, Jeff Koinange, who in fact interviewed me in Johannesburg, South Africa, when I went to get my CNN ‘Africa Journalist of the Year Award 2004 and Andrew Mwenda, for his exceptional eye for detail, despite the fights we have had and continue to have. Not forgetting, the new crop of young journalists, who, despite challenging circumstances under which they work, try as much as possible to deliver. For example, the winner of the ‘Komla Dumor’ award, Solomon Sserwanja.
What was your best moment?
Winning the Cnn ‘Africa Journalist of the Year Award 2004. During that time, I was working with WBS TV and we had a partnership of rallying CNN news as part of international news on the station.
So I watched a lot of Cnn although I do not agree with some of their stories. They accommodate certain things that I cannot.
How was the shift from active journalism to public realtions like?
It has been exciting. Being part of the evolution of energy in our country offers a remarkable experience. The Karuma hydro power project is the largest infrastructure project which Uganda has undertaken. Other huge projects include Uganda railway, which started in Mombasa, and ended in Nimule, from the intricate technologies that are employed there, to an underground facility (100 metres below the ground), a width totalling to 13 kilometres. I think I have a fleet of stories to tell the generations to come.