As I walk along the busy streets of Nairobi going about my daily activities, I encountered a group of youths, both men and women who have new t-shirts in their hands harassing passersby between the Kenya National Archives and Standard Building along Tom Mboya and Moi Avenue.
The youths, who use very persuasive language, will lure you into their con game unknowingly where you end up losing thousands of shillings if not careful.
First, once you give them audience, they will enquire if you have a Safaricom line which the probability of not having one is a near impossible.
Unsuspecting passersby would thus, think that it is a Safaricom promotion caravan and would most likely give them audience. Once you do, you are ‘rewarded’ with a free t-shirt for being a Safaricom customer and then invite you to play more ruffles so as to stand a chance of winning all sorts of rewards. There begin your tribulations.
Once you accept, you become a prey of the notorious cartels who will take you to a nearby van which is often surrounded by people who seem to be playing gambling PR lotteries.
They ask you for money to play as they guarantee you of an automatic win while actually, they are luring you to deposit as much money as you can.
No one ever wins anything, if you are lucky, you are only given the t-shirt estimated to be worth Sh200 after losing thousands of shillings.
These day light cons carefully choose their target mostly women and seemingly older people.
The group is complete even with a counseling department, who console you after losing by telling you to come back the next day where you will most likely win.
They will give you a story of how they also played and lost only to win good later. They will even offer you matatu fare to where you are going.
Investigations have indicated that the conmen are well protected since you will always find policemen patrolling not far from the area.
The police are there to handle any situation that might get out of hand. One of the cons will pretend to call the police who will arrive in few minutes and pretend to arrest the guys after keenly listening to the victim. However, another team will arrive at the same place to continue the exercise less than an hour later.
Those arrested will be back the next day and continue with their coning business unabated.
More investigations have also indicated that the groups are now threatening anyone who tries to castigate their business with a court order which allegedly shows that they are allowed to operate there. The seemingly fake court order which the police and NCCG officials should have turned a deaf ear against.
Nairobi governor Johnson Sakaja must act to end this cartel business.
It’s not strange to find women crying for help that they have been conned while no one comes to their aid.
The police clearly cannot help while the Nairobi County Government seems to have given the conmen the license to operate the illegal business.
It’s an obvious game played by the culprits together with the security agencies and senior county officials which must be crashed.
By Kenn Okaka, a communication and strategy expert.
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