Ghanaians have a gratitude culture; however, sometimes misplaced. From our infancy, one of the first things we are taught is to show gratitude for a gift given or a service rendered by an adult.
Thus, a child is given something and the parent or guardian immediately prods: "Say thank you!"
If the parent or guardian was absent when the gift was given, on getting to know, their first question would be: "Did you say thank you?"
If the child did not, he or she is marched back to the benefactor to do the needful: show appreciation!
Showing gratitude is a good thing. It knits societies together, tightening the bonds of friendship and fellow feeling.
It is the right response for the effort and consideration behind the giving of a gift, which could be an item, service or the facilitation of some need.
As a Christian, I take a cue from Jesus, who in the Bible was grieved when he healed 10 lepers and only one (a Samaritan, who did not know the mores of the Israelites) returned to say thank you.
I think Jesus was grieved, because the healing was a gift done out of his loving mercy on humans.
Unlike Ghanaian 'men and women of God', Jesus did not charge. It was an act of his grace, the lepers did not merit it, but it was granted anyway; and if, per chance Jesus had been a Ghanaian and money had been demanded, they could not even have afforded it.
In the book of Romans, the Bible also develops the idea of work as a meritorious, paid-for endeavour and grace or gift as free. Thus, work goes with pay and a gift goes with thanks.
Therefore, my question is, is the work of the President work in the real meaning of the term, or is it a charitable endeavour toward Ghanaians?
Do the President and his ministers get paid for their effort? Yes, I think so, because the basic law of Ghana, the 1992 Constitution, stipulates that. Indeed, there are special provisions on their emoluments, as well as MPs and judges.
Thus, if the President and his men's efforts are paid for, including other allowances supported by the taxpayer, how come some ministers are asking us to thank them for doing their jobs?
Some two weeks ago, the President's men (that is his ministers) held meetings to give an update of work on their respective sectors.
Riding on the advantage of their positions and power, they sought to patronise Ghanaians by asking us to thank them for all their efforts!
Messrs ministers and Mr President, have you all not received your latest pay cheques? Saying thank you, then for your own work executed, might be an act of cynicism.
It may also be that because of the bad governance we have had as Africans, our political elite believe they can do the minimal and we will fall and worship at their feet in gratitude!
I really cringe when I hear anyone say that we should thank our politicians for doing the work they were elected to do and for which they are satisfactorily compensated.
Is it a universally logical thing to do to thank someone for working? Unless, perhaps the person takes the extra effort to do something that is definitely out of his or her functions.
Yes, sometimes thanking the President or a minister is in order. They might make the effort to grace one’s event when their schedules are extremely tight. Thanking them for that is in order.
Thanking them for finding the time to grace our weddings and other social functions is in order, because they might have put in the extra effort to achieve that.
Ghanaians must be wise. No one does us favours by working for us!