As commendable and significant as the unprecedented voluntary return of the ₵365,000 ex gratia is, it is fair to say Togbe Afede XIV did not return it because he needs our commendation.
Rather, he returned it to draw our attention, prick our conscience, and push us to insist on the reform of a predatory emolument regime that transfers huge and outrageous amounts to a few people who volunteer to serve POOR Ghana.
He wants us to ask why a retiring superior court judge retires on his current salary and collects an additional 4 months salary for each year that he has served. This means if the judge currently earns ₵20,000 a month and served for 20 years, he will get ₵1.6M ex gratia and continue to collect ₵20,000 a month in retirement.
He wants us to ask why part time public officials are paid as though they are full time employees and are then rewarded with further huge payments at the end of their service.
He wants us to ask for a full list of all ex gratia recipients along with the amounts they have received since the inception of this emolument regime.
He wants us to ask tough questions about the opportunity cost of these transfers. He wants us to discuss the fairness and sustainability of these schemes, etc.
He reminds us that we are a POOR country that can hardly meet our basic needs and is in no position to keep making these payments.
Of course, those who enjoy it do not want us to reflect and act on these questions, and so they tap into our Ghanafuo instincts, which is to give us some kotokiokos attendance register showing that Togbe does not regularly attend meetings.
Then we do touch screen analysis of and argue over the attendance register why the beneficiaries eat their akomfem, drink their champagne, and laugh at the ease with which we can be distracted by nothingness!