Two members of Ghana's bitter rival political parties, the New Patriotic Party and National Democratic Congress were at each other's throat, almost trading blows Saturday morning while on a live radio discussion programme.
The two, Nana Akomea, NPP MP for Okaikoi South and until recently, a Minister for Youth and Employment, and Mr. Kobby Acheampong, a spokesperson of the NDC were heard insulting each other while engaged with others on Joy FM's current affairs discussion programme, Newsfile.
Other panel members were Messrs Kweku Baako Jnr, Editor in Chief of the Crusading Guide group of newspapers, and Eric Ametor Kwame, Features Editor of the Ghana Palaver newspaper. The programme was moderated by Joy News' Sampson Lardi Ayenini.
The panel was rounding up a discussion of the propriety or otherwise of the decision of the NPP transition team to opt out of the transition process as a result of what it termed 'inquisitorial' approach by the government's team.
Nana Akomea, who had remained silent while another member of the panel had the floor, would not take it kindly that he was interjected occasionally by the NDC members, and repeatedly drew the attention of the moderator to restrain Ametor and Acheampong from heckling him.
Indeed hecklings has been banter usual of the multi-award winning programme, and even though panelists from time to time objected to interjections, they nevertheless slip in and out of others' submissions.
On this occasion, Nana Akomea who had moments earlier objected to Ametor Kwame's 'interference' but had Kobby also cutting in, warned the programme could turn disruptive.
“If you want this programme to be disruptive, we will make it disruptive,” he warned, to which Kobby Acheampong retorted, “You can go ahead and make it disruptive.”
Then followed the bombshell from Akomea; “You do this all the time Kobby, and you don't say anything, you just say stupid things.”
“Go to hell!” replied Kobby.
Akomea: “Who should go to hell? I should go to hell?”
Kobby: “But you are insulting me?”
Akomea: “You say I should go to hell, you are a very stupid fool, I sho…”
It appeared Nana was not done yet, except that the studio microphones were killed immediately as the programme sig-tune rose up to fill the air, followed by commercials.
And while the commercials played, it took the physical intervention of all available – Baaku, Ametor, Sampson, Israel Laryea, technicians and front desk personnel at the Joy FM studios to prevent the two men, both members of the respective transition teams, from an imminent slugfest.
When the programme duly returned, the two men pretended nothing had happened and were blabbing away 'peacefully'. And while moderator Sampson Lardi offered a personal apology to listeners, it turned out 'not enough' as listeners poured angry mails and text messages in to demand 'civility' and personal apologies from the offending mouths.
They obliged, albeit grudgingly, offering ridiculous explanations why things had turned that way.
First Nana Akomea: “I thought we were off-air, that's what I thought, if we were on-air… [Reminded the mics were live] no problem, I thought were off-air but if we were on-air then, you know with deference to our listeners, because otherwise what's this about, we're having a public discussion so in deference to them I apologize. I didn't know we were on air even though I was severely provoked. I didn't know we were on air so if we were on air and to listeners got in to this disturbance, I'm sorry about it.”
Then Kobby Acheampong: “Well to the listeners out there, you know sometimes you get into some of these things where the issue has to be discussed from the proper perspective. Look I always speak my mind on issues, [Sampson reminds him listeners demand an apology], yes, I have to get a background and I always speak forcefully. Sometimes you may listen to a ting of anger in my voice but I'm never angry. Unless you provoke me and when you provoke me then I get angry and it's always normal. And in debates you must be angry, you are human you cannot pretend you are inhuman…yes I had to be angry because when you sit down for somebody to be telling you things that he shouldn't be telling you, you have to be angry. But in any case, if the listeners believe it is not proper, and I believe it is not proper anyway in the public discourse of this nature, it's only proper to apologise to them that I will not let this happen again even under the most extreme of provocations.”
Story by Isaac Yeboah