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28.02.2009 Feature Article

A National Thanksgiving Day? Come again, Mr. President

I was unable to go church last Sunday, neither did I attend the National Thanksgiving Service. I had guests in town and I was busy playing the perfect hostess so I couldn't watch it on TV either. I was totally shocked to hear on radio that our new President said he intends to propose a National Day of Thanksgiving. See, I love going to church too; my church choir does give my soul such joy anytime I hear them. They are a small group but I bet you not even the Oscar winning Soweto choir does compare to them, and oh it's not just the choir that I enjoy, I usually enjoy the reality check God gives me in the form of sermons. And my, He has such an awesome sense of humour; two Sundays ago I went to church upset with my brother over something he ought to have done and didn't do. I was livid because it was a chore we didn't even have to discuss, imagine what the speaker said when I got to church after the back and forth with my brother on the phone. He said 'the tests that are easy for us are difficult for others, so we must be compassionate and patient with others. It felt God had it in for me that morning with the choir topping it up with a give love song. I am pretty sure He has done it to some of you on many occasions.

Well back to the President's proposal, I realise he is deeply religious and wishes all of us be like him. Let me state that he intends for the first Fridays and Sundays of..... for Muslims and Christians to express their gratitude to God. Which also means that the President assumed that there are only two religious groups in Ghana, which is a convenient mistake most Christians of this land make. So I ask President Mills, how about the 15 percent of Ghanaians who practice the faith of our forefathers?

Sadly we have no traditions that like the Americans and the President believe we must be missing out on a national relationship with God, so he would institute Thanksgiving Day. Some people believe it is a fantastic idea while others have balked at it. Those who believe it's a good idea say it shows how committed the president is unifying us through religion, others say what we need is a God fearing leader and God will bless the land. Well I say be warned, George Bush was quite religious, and no pun intended he was a born-again and see what happened to America.

So why not a day to thank God who my friends and I refer to as 'Big G' wondering what I am going about. I simply think if given the opportunity Ghanaians would only go to church and nag God to death, church is all we seem to do anyway, so why would the President commit one such a blunder by endorsing church going. I know this is no skin of my teeth but I have seen people troop to church from Monday to Friday even during working hours and I am sure it is quite expensive for the economy especially to the government. Most public servants do not have to account for their time and also do believe they are entitled to a little time with God since they are under paid.

I am at a loss as to why one of the first proposals of President Mills is about faith. Why, really I have been beating myself about how he hasn't said anything to us about the economy and many other problems of Ghanaians, since the near mess of his inauguration where his voice was drowned by jubilant Ghanaians. Then wham just like that he decides to get all of us praying minus the libation pouring folks though. They do not worship God; maybe they have been made invisible by the proliferation of churches, so Prof thinks that most Ghanaians are Godly in Christian and Islamic terms. I do not blame the President he has lived in Accra for so long that he has forgotten that his home region Cape Coast is also the home of some famous seventy-seven Gods and unlike his Party Chairperson in the Ashanti Region and Founder he doesn't believe in the god of Antoa. I wish he had made proposals on how to tax the churches since some of them own churches the size of the National Stadium. But that would not endear him to the Ministers of God, I guess.

I am sure that Ghanaians have a 'LOT TO BE GRATEFUL FOR' considering the fact that we are Africans and practising democracy which has eluded most of our compatriots. Besides the peace we have and yet feel we do not deserve, the list of things to be thankful for is tall. There are the congested prisons, child labour and abuse cases, a confused education system, a trial and error health system, poor sanitation and a general lack of security of the population to be grateful to God for. So why not a National Day of Thanksgiving, a public holiday to boot. We love holidays after all, so go on Mr. President, indulge us.

By Nana Ama Agyemang

Nana Ama Agyemang
Nana Ama Agyemang, © 2009

This author has authored 1 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: NanaAmaAgyemang

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