The bad thing with investigations is that they are addictive like drugs. The more cases you investigate, the more you love the adrenaline that comes with it. So, when a client called me with an opportunity to take up a case of cybercrime in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, I jumped on the challenge with both hands.
But I had a huddle to jump – getting my co-directors to support to take on the case.
Finally, Kenya has knocked on the door. A bank wants me to take up a case there. What do you think? I said to my co-director.
“It is not a good idea”, she replied.
“What do you mean? Kenya is East Africa’s financial capital city. If I must make an impact, make money and become an international expert, that is the playing field I must be identified with. This idea of a big fish in the small pond mentality must stop. God has finally heard my prayers. I now have an opening into this big lucrative market”, I said to my wife of 10 years then and a co-director.
My wife, fondly called, Miss Accountability, is a woman of few words.
She is the direct opposite. I always try to fill any quiet moment with words. It has taken me a long time to emulate her. I always found it difficult to listen, yet this is an essential skill for my job as an investigator and now a consultant. Thanks to Miss Accountability, I have learned a lot from her especially how to suppress the urge to talk. Now I listen. This has helped me a lot especially when it comes to taking statements, investigations and interviewing suspects. I find listening to an essential skill in all my work and relationships. In the past, I was a selective listener… interjecting to ask or clarify. It has taken me the time of deliberate practice to keep my mouth shut and listen attentively to the other person.
“No one likes facts and Kenya is East Africa’s capital city of crime. You said the city’s other name is Nairobery, right,” she says simply.
True. And that is why I must be in that city, I tell her. Look, I have always played locally. Uganda is small. It is even smaller when the playing field is not fair when it comes to finding consulting gigs. Few companies want competent experts. Given our record, we are ready for the big break. All the cases we have handled here have been 100% successful in terms of fulfilling the client’s objectives. 90% of our work is referrals a testament to this. But we cannot expect to create a global firm with a local focus. If we conquer Kenya, we have the region. Soon Africa shall be conquered. And then the Middle East. We shall then be looking at Asia and the world, I say to her.
It is not easy to convince Miss Accountability. She has won many of the arguments I start. This one, I put all my guns on the table.
A bad mistake.
“Look at me”, she says.
“Sweetheart, you over dream a lot. Why do you want to conquer Africa? I don’t think that investigations and forensics services offer the best leverage to conquer the world. Many clients come because they are in pain. Unlike medical doctors who help ease the pain when patients go there, in investigations, those in pain come but most of the time they could be part of the cause of that pain, in which case they are not
looking seriously for answers. You don’t expect to win in such circumstances”, she adds looking directly in my eyes without blinking.
It is these kinds of talks and one on one arguments that deepen our relationship. We always reach a compromise. I cannot take on a case that has exposes the family to safety and security risks without her green light. That is what partners do: they confer.
Sensing that I may not win if I maintained this kind of reasoning, I change tactic.
This case is challenging better than what we have ever handled. Support me and I take it up, love, I say.
“Ok, if you want the experience, take it up. No calling me at night. I will not be part of the team. You will spend all Sundays at home, as usual”, she says to which I reply in affirmative. “Ok, you can take up the case” he gives a go-ahead.
To be continued… this is a series
Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved.