Nairobi News


I’ve stopped lending people money and here’s why

February 20th, 2019 2 min read

Not so long ago, I was a very generous and caring person. Whenever someone told me their problems and followed it up with a request for cash, I would give it to them even when I was running out of coinage myself.

Even though I knew they didn’t mean it when they said “nitakurudishia”, I still gave them my money with the hope that they would be reasonable surprise me with an M-Pesa message a few days later.

That rarely happened. The hope was misguided. Most of the people I ever lent money to never made an effort to pay back. They felt that my mulla looked better in their pockets than in mine. Any attempts to follow up were met with false promises about how they would send the following day.


Unfortunately for me, debt-collection is not my biggest gift. I get tired of shouting “wapi pesa yangu?”

There are people who can’t allow you to disappear with their money. I envy such people. They’ll track you down like you are the leader of a terrorist cell and they’re a navy seal commander. You just have to pay back.

At some point, I just started giving without expecting anything in return. Tenda wema nenda zako, right? I considered myself a philanthropic human. Give and you shall receive? That never happened either. The more I gave, the more I struggled.

My frustrations have now reached their boiling point. I have decided not to give out money anymore. My generous side is now part of history. It’s now like Vasco Da Gama and Kwame Nkrumah.

Instead of giving and expecting to receive, why not just keep what I have and not expect anything? I would have kept on lending if I had reservoirs of cash that I could keep drawing from like Mark Cuban. Sadly, I am just a regular Kenya. I cannot afford to boost other people’s account balances while mine is not so healthy.

Nowadays when someone comes to me with their problems, I listen then I tell them sorry a number of times. When they ask for money, I employ the classic line – “Sina kitu sai lakini nikipata nitakusukumia.”


Am I bad? No. Things would never have reached this level if only people paid back. A good number Kenyans never have the grace and honor to pay back any amount they owe. Try calling them and they’ll ignore you like a Karen girl being disturbed by an Umoja dude.

Personally, I never borrow money that I am not sure I can repay. And if I really have to, I’d rather borrow from loan apps like Tala because I understand that debts destroy relationships.

Whether it’s loaning out money or just being generous, I am not doing that anymore. The world’s richest man Jeff Bezos is currently worth $137 billion yet the most he has ever given out to charity is $2 billion. That’s less than 1 % of his net worth. If such a wildly successful businessman can be that mean, who am I to be generous?

Time to be smart and mean.