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.