21 July 2014

Ghana, US in Twitter Wars

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Accra — Ghana and the United States appear headed on a collision course following disagreements with the US Embassy going viral on some social networking site.

Recently, President John Dramani Mahama, in typical fashion had used social media to communicate the need for Ghanaians to make sacrifices in these challenging times, as there was light at the end of the tunnel.

This is in reference to his calls to government officials to accept a salary cut.

He tweeted on his site Twitter page, @JD Mahama, "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."

Shortly after, a response came from the US Embassy’s official handle, which stated, “And what sacrifices are you making? Don't tell me that pay cut."

The tweet from the US Embassy elicited fierce responses and condemnation from some state officials, who felt the Embassy, was unduly interfering in the politics of the country and showing disrespect to the President.

As the atmosphere got heated with accusations and counter-accusations on the issue, the Embassy came up with an apology and explained the circumstances surrounding the tweet.

It shifted blame onto one of its officials for the blunder, not the Embassy or the US government.

“The earlier errant tweet was a private message mistakenly sent out on our account. The views expressed in no way reflect the views of the United States Government or the US Embassy,” it tweeted.

The Embassy further promised to ensure that all employees fully understood their responsibility toward carefully managing its public outreach through social media.

“We have apologised to the President and we offer an apology to the Ghanaian people. Our staff mixed a personal handle with that of the embassy's,” it concluded.

Not satisfied with the explanation, Foreign Affairs Minister, Hannah Tetteh hit back.

“The tweet was public and associated with your twitter handle. It was not a private/personal account.”

Ras Mubarak, the Coordinator of the National Youth Authority, called on the Foreign Minister to summon the US Ambassador to explain.

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