This study investigates how the focus on a TAM and polarity value, known in the literature as operator (Dik 1989, Watters 2010) or auxiliary focus (Hyman & Watters 1984), is manifested in natural speech in Kakabe, a Mande language. I show that the opposition between the two perfective auxiliaries attested in Kakabe is best analyzed in terms of operator focus and therefore extend this notion to Mande languages for the first time. This study analyzes the operator focus on the perfective in natural speech. It leads to the discovery of new contexts relevant for the description of focused perfectives, such as performative speech acts and utterances with mental state predicates. Finally, I propose a new approach to the distribution of the inflectional markers in narratives, based on an account of the main story line as structured by one overarching Question Under Discussion.