The object at the centre of a raging hogwash in the country today dubbed, the Star Of Ghana, appears set to upstage the Ivorian diplomatic gaffe by a government which promised transparency and forthrightness et al. The $48,000 customised gold wristwatch is said to be the second most expensive gift item in the Obama-occupied White House since the African-American occupied the US Presidency. Its carat rating has so far failed to undo the quantum of controversy it has sparked so far on the Ghanaian political and media landscape. Someone quipped about how the “commissioned” gesture should have ordinarily not triggered a furore had the ruling party, when it was in opposition, not set what has largely turned out to be pseudo-moral standards on the campaign platform. Now that they are in power, the imaginary code of conduct bordering on transparency, a seemingly Utopian set of governance rules, has all but been confined to the backburner. Questions are being posed about how the “commissioning” for the manufacture of the Star Of Ghana was done in seeming secrecy and how since September 2009 the matter has just been broached. The whole transaction is mired in something difficult to explain, a conundrum of sorts even after the US Embassy’s diplomatic intervention- a lifeline which helped Castle minders as they desperately spread the word, “even the US embassy has stated that there was an error”. It was an interesting attempt at shielding Uncle Sam from the brouhaha of local politics. Whether or not the Ghanaian First Lady and indeed her husband, have been cleared of any malfeasance, Ghanaians are the best judges. Evidently, the transaction is anything but clean, no matter how much effort is brought to bear on the political fester by Castle minders. There was a “commissioning” for the manufacture of an article of value, the final product of which was actually delivered on behalf of the Republic of Ghana, as evidenced by the records of the Federal Register. Some lapses are said to have occurred in the whole enterprise, as explained by a man speaking on behalf of the company which organized the production through Backes & Strauss. This, the spokesman claims, would be rectified as soon as possible, a subtle admission that something went wrong along the line. The Castle minders have not helped matters by seeking to impute malice in the manner in which non-NDC persons are interrogating the questionable transaction. In one of the usual abrasive debates over topics of this nature, two names were dropped to underscore the politics in the whole thing- one, a supposed NPP sympathizer and the other an NDC man. The two are alleged to be linked with the company which did the commissioning. As it sits in the array of gifts to the White House, the Ghana-flag embedded wristwatch would forever remain, perhaps the most controversial gift to be donated to the US Presidential residence in recent history. But for breaching diplomatic ethics, perhaps, the gift would have been returned to its origin given the confusion surrounding it so far. By the time this week is exhausted, we would not be surprised if the US embassy fires another rejoinder or statement in another attempt to douse the fire stoked by the $48,000 Star of Ghana memento. There is a Castle connection to the transaction and this is the fault line underpinning the gesture. If Shakespeare’s comedy “Much Ado Nothing” is confusion-laden, the Star Of Ghana is a political explosion, the fine details of which are yet to come out.
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