A highly anticipated live radio interview with former president Jerry John Rawlings failed to come off yesterday, as a transmission failure at Peace FM led to speculations of sabotage.
The interview was scheduled for around 8am yesterday morning on the popular Accra-based radio station"s "Kokrokoo” morning show.
The previous Monday, President John Agyekum Kufuor had given a rare and lengthy live interview to the same FM station in the week of Ghana's 50th anniversary of independence. Mr Rawlings' slot was expected to address many of the former Head of State's gripes with the official celebrations - including his decision not to attend the national event on March 6, at Independence Square in Accra.
Instead, listeners to the popular morning news programme were treated to three hours of silence between about 8.30 and 11.30am, as “routine problems,” according to the show's producer, saw the usually energetic news team grind to a halt.
Producer Kwasi Acquah told The Statesman how he and the production team were already assembled in the private residence of the former Head of State, when the technical problems became apparent.
“It was so unfortunate; we were ready for the interview, but there were faulty transmitters and there was nothing we could do.”
He said that Mr Rawlings himself was highly disappointed and had been keen to talk, but that even once the station was back on air at around 11.30am, the transmitter was still too unreliable to risk an interview with the former president.
Whilst allegations have been flying about a 'sabotage' of the interview – with suggestions that Government was unwilling to give national, public voice to the former ruler, or that his own party members were unwilling to risk the damage of his inflammatory tendencies – Mr Acquah insists that the difficulties were just an unfortunate coincidence.
“Obviously, people will want to read meanings into what was a very usual technical problem,” he said. “Our engineers are working on the problem, which can't be blamed on anyone.”
He told The Statesman that the interview will be rescheduled, but that no firm date has yet been fixed, and that this will depend on Mr Rawlings travel plans.