British High Commissioner to Ghana causes Twitter outrage for humour gone wrong
The head of the British mission to Ghana, Jon Benjamin is no stranger to controversy and contention in local politics or sports. He has had serious arguments with Ghanaians when he had made comments about matters in the country that some consider to be undiplomatic.
But a Tweet he made yesterday about the weather with a subtle reference to defeated president, John Mahama has angered some Ghanaians.
Benjamin posted this Tweet which he later deleted following the anger it generated, “Oh that nasty air outside all of a sudden. Did someone inaugurate the Harmattan already?”
The reference to inauguration is a subtle reference to President Mahama who was beaten by Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in elections held December 7, 2016. The defeat to President Mahama was the most emphatic and humiliating of any presidential contender in Ghana’s history – Akufo-Addo beat him by an unimaginable 1.5 million votes, and for a sitting president, that was a walloping!
The reference to inauguration is for the fact that during the electioneering campaign President Mahama embarked on a frenzy of commissioning and inauguration of partly completed and finished projects across the country – including schools, roads, hospitals and markets. As a result, he was nicknamed ‘Commissioner General’ by both his supporters and opponents.
Benjamin’s Tweet was seen by many on Twitter as disrespectful and for some, it is interference in Ghana’s politics, while some see it as a mockery of the country’s president and therefore in bad taste.
Journalist, Gary Al-Smith didn’t take kindly to it. In a reply to Benjamin he Tweeted, “Right here. Been off twitter a couple hours. Now catching up. Now that @JonBenjamin19 is lampooning our president people finally take note.”
Right here. Been off twitter a couple hours. Now catching up. Now that @JonBenjamin19 is lampooning our president people finally take note. https://t.co/o34eRivBEe
— Gary Al-Smith (@garyalsmith) December 27, 2016
Kinna Reads was blunt. She Tweeted. “We are colonized and that Diplomat understands it, uses it to great advantage. He insults our President and folks are “we are to blame.”
We are colonized and that Diplomat understands it, uses it to great advantage. He insults our President and folks are “we are to blame.
— Kinna #GhanaDecides (@kinnareads) December 27, 2016
Not everyone reacting though, thought the diplomat had crossed the line.
This is someone’s Tweet; “KSM does it on the KSM show n we all laugh about it. Is what we doing to Jon not racism in itself?”
@agidieric @garyalsmith @jonbenjamin19 KSM does it on the KSM show n we all laugh about it.
Is what we doing to Jon not racism in itself?
— I Am Atheistical (@BerryDandy) December 27, 2016
Jon Benjamin is no stranger to these kinds of responsese to his Tweets about Ghana. Just like he does in all other cases, he seems to have moved on after deleting the Tweet, even though Ghanaians on the microblogging site do not seem to be letting matters die anytime soon.
See below some of the conversation.
Sorry Gary, that's not a correct assertion. I have huge respect for President @JDMahama, having worked closely with him on several issues. https://t.co/koD1kwouvp
— Jon Benjamin 🇬🇧🏴🇲🇽🇨🇱🇬🇭 ✡️ (@JonBenjamin19) December 27, 2016
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi
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