April 24, 2011 Mad Hatter


INSTANT CASH ON HOUSEHOLD ITEMS!!! Is a sign that could replace the Nairobi City Council as the most seen sign in Nairobi? These shylock shops have mushroomed with a worrying tendency all over the country.
Their popularity is being fueled majorly by emergence expenditure and the lengthy procedures in obtaining credit from credible financial institutions.
Pressed by emergence needs, Kenyans are trooping into these shylock dens with households goods to get sorted out immediately. However extreme conditioned with which these clients are subjected to wipes out any sensible advantage that could accrue.
John painfully recalls the loss of his music system. It was a cold morning in the mid month; a shrill ring of his phone alerted him of someone who would wish to pass a message. He reached out hoping it was a call from the many corporations he had submitted his resumes.
It was never to be, on the other end, it was an all together familiar voice and an all together unwanted message; his son had been taken ill. He remembered with nostalgia that he had gone on an empty stomach. The bill was five thousand. A stone throw away, was the stall that served as both a piracy hub and a shylock shop. He had vowed never to set foot in the stall, but here, a compelling situation had called.
He woke up and looked at the Sony Home theater system he valued exceedingly, he had held onto it for quite sometime, but he would let it go. He had to.
He washed his face and bundled it into a box. He reached the stall and gave his somber story. The negotiations were not lengthy, they are never. The system missed two speakers and that reduced the value to half. And such he could only get half, the half value repayable within a fortnight. Failure would mean forfeiture of ownership.
There was a white form expressly disclaiming any intention for legal relationship except to the extent that the terms of the contract allowed. John* was handed the thrifty six thousand seven hundred shillings. He hastily entered into a money agent conveniently located near the stall and sends the money to the wife.
A week was over when he realized that he was staring a loss in the eye. He glimpsed at the contract that imprisoned him to the time frame. As the fortnight elapsed, he went to the stall just to see his system lined up for auction.
He lost his system. This is the fate that continues to glare thousands of Kenyans in the face. Another resonation would be the shilling-for-shilling madness that has deeply entrenched itself in the sugarcane growing areas of the western Kenya.
Someone would get into a debt of KSH 50,000 just to refund an exorbitant KSH 100,000 from a payment of possibly KSH 120,000. Essentially, this would mean that such a farmer is expected to live on the KSH 20,000 for the next 18 months.
This directly directs the farmer into another hole they would wish to evade.
Are these ventures operating within the licensed limits as would be other business ventures or are they illegal dens? In case they are licensed, who monitors their interest rates to protect the consumers? If they are illegal, why would the government stay and watch the citizenry become enslaved? Is this not an undermining of the mainstream financial sector?


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