By PHARES MUTEMBEI
Undercover crime buster trains her eyes on people inciting Kenyans to violence
In Jane Mugo’s business, the use of codenames is the name of the game. A stranger listening to Mugo as she instructs her team will be lost.
In her office, things are not what they seem. Everything is related to her security work. For example, what looks like a pen isn’t one and what looks like a tube of lipstick isn’t! They are her work gadgets.
Apt and brilliant, Mugo has used her skills and attention to detail to bust some of Kenya’s biggest criminals. Through her work, criminals are serving time and each days she sets out to put more behind bars . . . until the country is rid of all crime.
She follows suspects under cover in and out of Kenya.
In her work, Mugo has endured nerve-numbing and spine-chilling experiences. Though she has just written to the Police Commissioner requesting for protection, she says it doesn’t mean she is conceding ground to criminals.
“It is just covering my back!” she says. “My duty is to work to bring criminals to justice. I acknowledge the danger accompanying the work. I love my work and I know danger comes with the territory,” says Mugo.
Her outfit, Trimo Security and Private Investigators, has a pool of talented brains in the business.
Her preoccupation now is to ensure that ethnic incitement is kept at bay, as Kenya prepares for a historic General Election.
“We have had tough lessons from the last elections. Our contribution as people in the security sector is to ensure a peaceful election and transition. We don’t want people inciting others, we don’t want chaos.”
She says some politicians have already employed youths to intimidate opponents and spread negative messages. But these are under Mugo’s surveillance.
“Fortunately the youth are becoming enlightened and the media is spreading peace messages.”
Apart from providing security to aspiring politicians, Jane says her team is keeping tabs on them.
“We offer protection to the VIPs in their politicking but at the same time, we monitor their utterances and actions. It is a dual-purpose kind of set-up.”
Mugo says aspirants must play their part in ensuring the country goes into and emerges from the next elections peacefully.
“Asking the political class to discourage disharmony isn’t too much to ask for, is it? We are among them but they can’t see us. We know whom they are meeting and their agenda. We are preparing reports that we will hand to the National Cohesion and Integration Commission, for appropriate action.”
She was part of the security teams that combed the Rift Valley, one of the most affected regions during the post election violence after the disputed 2007 poll, to investigate the mayhem. She was then in charge of operations at Karman Security Services.
“That violence was an eyesore to our national conscience which threatened our very existence,” states Mugo.
She adds: “We want them to know we are recording their every utterance. We don’t want a situation where they spread hate.”
That assignment in the Rift Valley was not easy — they had to go undercover to get information. They encountered witnesses who feared for their safety.
Mugo builds up cases against suspects and give exhibits to the police. Her compant gets assignments from different clients, including NGOs, industries and the Government.
After gathering sufficient information, she works closely with the police in building evidence for court proceedings.
Although the job is mostly associated with men, Mugo wanted to work in the security sector from childhood.
She is also in charge of community policing in her Gichugu her Gichugu rural home.
Because of her contribution to security, the Mururi Police Station in her home is called ‘Jane Beste’ in her honour.
She would mobilise young people to police the area.
However, her job comes with challenges.
“I have requested for armed protection. The cases I am dealing with are sensitive. While people might just want to intimidate me, there are some who might be out to harm me.
“I have been followed, so I keep on changing cars and routes. God protects me.”