Recently, Ugandans have fallen prey to several lucrative scams and Ponzi schemes from unscrupulous people that encourage unsuspecting Ugandans to “invest” large sums of money hoping for huge returns.
The most recent including BLQ, E-Cairo, UG Football and many others which shut down after they had duped Ugandans an estimate of over Ugx 60bn according to some news outlets. This reminded me of the Monkey scheme story.
Once upon a time, a rich man from the city arrived in a village. He announced to the villagers that he would buy Monkeys for 100 each.
The villagers were very happy, after all there were hundreds of monkeys in a nearby forest. They caught the Monkeys and got them to the rich man. He bought hundreds of Monkeys and paid 100 for every Monkey the villagers gave him. They began to make a living out of getting Monkeys from the forest and selling it to the rich man.
Soon, the forest began to run out of monkeys that were easy to catch.
Sensing this, the rich man offered 200 for every monkey. The villagers were ecstatic. They went back to the forest, set up traps and caught the monkeys and got them to the rich man. The villagers began climbing trees and risking their lives to catch monkeys and get them to the rich man – who bought them all.
There were no Monkeys left in the forest!
One day, the rich man announced he would like to buy more monkeys , this time for 800 each.
The villagers couldn’t believe this. They were desperately trying to get more monkeys but they were no more.
Meanwhile, the rich man said he had to go back to the city on some business work and until he returns his manager would deal on his behalf.
Once he left, the villagers were unhappy. They were making quick and easy money from selling monkeys, but the forest no longer had monkeys.
This is when the manager of the rich man stepped in. He made an offer the villagers could not refuse. Pointing out to all the monkeys that the rich man had caged. He told the villagers he would sell the monkeys for 500 each.
“Sell them back to the rich man at 800k each when he comes back” the manager said.
The villagers were over the moon. Buy for 500 and sell for 800 in few days. They had just found the easiest way to almost double their money. The villagers collected all their savings and even borrowed money. There were long queues and within a few hours, almost all the monkeys were sold out.
Unfortunately, their happiness did not last long, as the manager went missing the next day and the rich man never came back.
Many villagers kept the monkeys with them, hoping the rich man would come back. But soon, they lost hope and had to let the monkeys back into the forest as feeding and taking care of the noisy monkeys became extremely difficult.
BLQ, E-Cairo took this a step further by even mocking their ‘clients.’ Soon after closing shop, in one of their Telegram groups, BLQ administrators had the audacity to call their weeping clients fools and threatening to come back with another trick.
“You Ugandans thank you; you have been fooled but I am coming with another trick after this money is over,” said one of the administrators on Telegram.
This should be a lesson to all Ugandans to look before they leap and that the old adage, ‘Easy come, easy go’ isn’t just an adage.