Monday, August 13, 2007

“When the deal is too good, think twice”

Pyramid schemes came to Kenya with a lot of fun fare, many people borrowed money, withdrew from their savings to put in the pyramid schemes after being promised the money would double in a few days.

Friends and relatives begged me to join, but I was sceptical after I paid 35 thousand for a stall at Freemark only to hear that it caught fire one week after. Mine was not so much money compared to what others had paid in terms of cash and the stocks. Rumours had it that the fire may have been started by the owner; because he was to be evicted from the land he occupied between Uhuru Park and Railway Club, to create an impression that the monies he was holding on behalf of other people had got lost in the process. Ideally his intention was to con people and possibly look for sympathy.

Kenyans are risk takers and are willing to take any risk in an attempt to make money. Even after being warned by stories in the media to think twice when the deal is too good. The government also warned severally that the schemes were illegally operating. I remember there was such a column in the local dailies some years back warning people on risky deals. Many must have also read these but still ended up taking the risk.

Listening to news on the Radio the other day, the managers of these pyramid schemes complained that they fear for their lives. In some towns the schemes collected around 600 million Kenyan shillings and much more for Nairobi. There are a few lucky ones who gained from the schemes (the first people to join), but many did not received their money back.

It was also alleged that such deals are breaking some marriages. I can imagine a situation where a housewife convinced her husband to borrow like one million from the bank or co-operative society convincing him that it will double in a month. Then before they get the money the schemes vanished in thin air. They cannot get the money back. This is such a big loss for a family especially when they still struggle with basic responsibilities like owning a house, a car and paying school fees. Definitely this can cause a lot of problems in a home.

It has never been clear to me what Kenyans are looking for or imagining when they go for such deals. I know I am a victim; it is obvious that I was going for riches but it did'nt turn out to be. I doubt whether I can be tricked in such a manner any more.

There are however many other people that have been conned many times but they never learn. The lust to acquire more and faster seems to have overwhelm their ability to reason and be realistic. Riches come when you don’t chase them; if you chase them especially at a fast rate; they lodge poverty at your doorstep.

Its high time Kenya’s realise that “when the deal is too good they should think twice”! For once if another monster like pyramid scheme comes to us let us refuse.


kalamari said...

Sue. Your blog is not a ‘raunchy xxxx site’. As a matter of fact, it is a beacon of hope to millions of women (Kenyan and otherwise) whose issues you choose to highlight in a clear and just manner. I think you should be proud of the noble work you selflessly indulge in to address the issues that our patriarchal society choose to conveniently ignore. I can only encourage you to pursue this endeavor to the greatest of heights. In a country where women outnumber men, it’s fundamental that political, social and economic empowerment of the fairer gender becomes a priority. When you choose to challenge women to break the yokes of gender disparities I think you do Kenya a great service. I’m not president, but when I become one, the top honor of the land may be somewhere in the form of “The Golden Order of Sue”. I hold women in the highest of esteem and respect. Ngilu and Ojiambo, though controversial in many ways, are stalwarts in the gender equality struggle. They in fact have inspired many young women to pursue male dominated professions. They are however, public figures.

That said, my point is that your very important blog (and my posts) could be construed to mean anything to anyone at anytime when taken out of context. Like my references to two or three items on your blog, when you pick a few lines on my posts and make unfortunate judgments, you not only open the floodgates of ridicule, but you also loose innocence to impending counterattacks.

The definition and nature of a blog, a free and anonymous one at that, demands that open-mindedness prevails. It is through such avenues that unpopular, politically incorrect, unpalatable views, political or otherwise (those that can never be discussed at a dinner table) are aired in a raw, uncensored and blunt fashion. The reason Chris is currently in hiding (at an undisclosed obscure location I must add) is because he has chosen to challenge the establishment by kicking it where it hurts most. If Chris was frightened to address past and present ills, this blog would be nothing but a blank white page cluttered with letters strewn together to produce words that make some sense once in a while. It is the controversial nature of the topics discussed that continues to draw thousands of people of varied backgrounds, creed, ambitions and goals to this blog. The fact that commentators on this blog are as polarized as the political situation on the ground is in itself controversial.

In the same spirit of diversity of opinion and expression, any restrictions or attempts to censor, edit or sanitize views or how they are delivered may well be Kumekuchas’ Achilles’ heal. In a way, it’s African culture to play with words. Some of our heroes use football commentary to make a point. Others choose ‘hawa, hawa tuu’. Some of our most controversial literary voices have never used names and can indeed defend themselves against treason charges in court. It’s just words, the power of which must be guarded jealously. In a forum where all walks of life are guaranteed a safe mode of expression, a prose or two taking cue from the worlds favorite pastime is nothing to cause heartaches and confusion.

Whereas it is true that behind every anonymous tag, lies a breathing human being complete with emotions, walking away in grief and bewilderment after reading a politically incorrect comment, could be a problem. I mean, nothing is personal here. If everybody was hypersensitive and easily bruised by opposing views or force-fed propaganda, then I would advise you not to attend the proposed “Kumekucha” get together in TZ as chaps will bring real knives, guns and stones. Your life could be in danger. There’s no denial that most writing is done with livid emotions, however, calling people names or agreeing with others who have done so is a sign of loosing emotional control. Whereas I will not offer or expect any apologies, going forward, please read my comments with a tongue-in-cheek.

luke said...

This is why poverty is a bad thing;after 24+ years of being whipped daily by hardships of all sorts as part of life on the grind in Kenya, many Kenyans have wearily let their guard drop even against such simple and well known devices such as conmen/conwomen, which is what pyramid schemes really are; nothing but corrupt plots to rob us of our hard earned money (KACC are you hearing me?haya,imbeni tuu)

Kudos for knowing better Sue-Kenyans from all cadres of life should know better too; the type of risk worth taking is a not the one where the risk will cost you your life-that is a price too high to pay

This is why our economy needs to boom so that our people are not so desperate as to gamble with their lives

Sue said...

Thanks Kalamari for your comments and advice. Without comments one would not know whether they are on the right track on not. Thanks to others Luke, Waititu etc..... Keep it up.

Kalamari hope you one day become Prezo and give me that honor.

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Meet black singles said...

Kenyans always fall for all these types of schemes. Methinks some people don't love their money