Gene A. Cretz and President John Mahama
AN EXPLOSIVE Diplomatic row is brewing between the embassy of the United States of America (USA) in Accra and Ghana as some activists of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) are calling for sanctions against the Ambassador and staff of the embassy.
Key among the angry activists are Ras Mubarak, acting National Coordinator of the National Youth Authority and Dela Coffie, a member of the NDC communication team, who has asked the Foreign Minister, Hannah Tetteh, to summon the US Ambassador, Gene A. Cretz, to the Flagstaff House to render unqualified apologies to ?the President and the people of Ghana.?
This follows a twitter message from the US Embassy rubbishing President John Dramani Mahama?s tweeted message imploring Ghanaians to sacrifice in the face of the dire economic problems dogging the country.
From his twitter account, @ JDMahama, the President wrote: ?As a people, we have had to make sacrifices. I wish to assure you that the results of these sacrifices would begin to show very soon.?
But in a sharp cynical response, the US Embassy?s twitter handle-@ USEmbassy Ghana, countered: ?@JDMahama and what sacrifices are you making?
Don?t tell me that pay cut.?
The response was referring to the much criticized decision by the John Dramani administration early this year that it was going to cut the salaries of the President down to ministers by 10% to exhibit the sacrifices that the executive had to take in a bid to douse financial challenges facing the government.
The suggestion was widely derided by the public who referred the government to other huge unconventional sources of funds that its officials benefit from, aside their salaries.
The twitter debacle has attracted intense rage from government officials and some members of the public who think the US government was unnecessarily interfering in the internal affairs of the country and are demanding ?unconditional? apologies from the embassy.
?The tweets [from the US Embassy] were very unfortunate,? Ras Mubarak fumed.
A few hours after the controversial tweets, the US Embassy issued another tweet, trying to explain the situation: ?Our staff mixed a personal handle with the embassy?s. We apologize for the errant tweet,? it stated.
But the apology has attracted more angst from the NDC which claims it was too ?light?. Ras Mubarak and his colleagues are demanding the embassy to sack the said staff and give evidence of having sanctioned the errant staff.
?Apology or no apology, the Foreign Minister should, as a matter of urgency, summon the US ambassador and register her protest in the strongest terms over this clear attack and insult on our presidency.
?It matters not whether it was the US embassy staff who mixed a personal twitter handle with the embassy?s own. This is a major diplomatic gaffe.
?And if this were to be a serious democracy, the US ambassador should by no be explaining why this attack on the presidency of a sovereign nation should not lead to his expulsion from the country.
?We are not a serious nation. Are we?? Dela Coffie, a member of the NDC communication team wrote on his facebook wall.
But the embassy has issued another tweet, emphasising that it had communicated its apologies to the office of the President,
?We?ve communicated our apology to the office of the President and are taking steps to prevent a recurrence.?
It is unclear how the simmering diplomatic row will pan out as the Ghanaian government has not issued any statement on the issue as at press time.
BY Raphael Ofori-Adeniran