A Ugandan man, Jerome Jawoko, overwhelmed by the cost of getting married, took the weirdly imaginative plan of faking his death to compel family and friends to contribute to a fake burial and funeral service.
The money he got from this contribution was to go into the organisation of his wedding.
Jawoko, nicknamed JJ by those close to him, according to Uganda’s Daily Monitor, grew frustrated by the pressures of money and calls to see to the fulfillment of what is considered a necessary social responsibility.
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A lowly fisherman from the Masasa Landing Site in Jinja in the east of Uganda, Jawoko had no means to bear the cost. So last week, he arranged with close friends to announce that he was dead.
Sympathies were expected and with those contributions towards his funeral.
But the report adds that this was not the first time a plan had been put together to raise money for JJ’s marriage ceremony.
In January of this year, he chaired “wedding preparatory meetings” in order to beg attendees to pledge sums of money towards the ceremonies of him and his friends. But there were very few attendees and no pledges.
But one of his friends eventually died having never married.
“I was hurt that when that friend died after a road accident on April 1, contributions flooded in to see him to his final destination,” said JJ in an interview.
He continued: “Many of those we sent direct messages asking for their help in seeing to the success of his wedding refused to contribute, they didn’t help when he was in the hospital breathing his last but came in droves once he was dead. What kind of society is this?”
Fast forward to late September when he personally went to people begging for help so he could settle down. But this too was to no avail.
“I was being blue-ticked on WhatsApp as if I was some debt collector. Some friends even left WhatsApp groups I was in just to be as far away as possible even on the cyberspace,” continued Jawoko.
So together with two other friends, Okumu Achak and Peter Mpengere, Jawoko put together the plan of his fake death. The trio confessed that people immediately opened up their purses for his burial.
Jawoko explained that “the same people who were running away from us came running with cash to us. They were willing to pay for a nice coffin of Shs2 million (about $500) but not even 5,000 when I was asking for wedding pledges.”
The three men are now in the grips of the police after other friends found Jawoko very much alive and reported the matter. Authorities say they are treating it as a case of fraud.
But Mpengere, one of the conspirators, is unremorseful about his role. According to him, the sympathisers booked a van on the same day to have the supposed corpse transported to Zombo district, not far from where they live.
For him, this was a sign they wanted to see Jawoko dead.
In all, Shs 7 million or about $1,900 was raised from the scammed sympathisers.