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31 March 2010 | Commentaries

Two Debates Between Arden Darko-Boateng and Kwamina Nyan Wallace


Now, these are direct conversations that ensued between 4 young Ghanaian friends who were all classmates at some point in Mfantsipim School, Cape Coast. This conversation was carried out on the facebook platform.

For the sakes of the readers of this website, there has been slight editing (especially with regards to grammar). However, there still are instances where original texts have been retained. The purpose of publishing this here is to inform public discussion and opinion even as we collectively decide on the destiny of our nation. Credit:
Arden Darko-Boateng
Roberts Wesleyan College, Rochester, New York, USA.

Kwamina Nyan Wallace
State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, USA.

Ismail Alidu
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.

Effrim Ato Tabbicca
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.

Debate 1. Cause of debate was triggered by the announcement below.
Arden: Join the cause!!! Speak out against the pornography being displayed in our Ghanaian movies!!! Remember that we are a people who believe in sound moral values--these define us a people; we cannot allow some blind few to lead us astray. Speak up now!
(Definition of some colloquial expressions used in this conversation) :
Lol—laugh out loud

Kwamina Nyan Wallace
This is when I go foul mouth at some of you. We are all unique; therefore, we all have our different genres that we all like. So please stop enforcing your one-sided moral views on all of us.

Arden Darko-Boateng
And this is where I totally disagree with you (and please watch your mouth lol!) Let's have a discussion--argue from whatever point you want, and you'll understand that we need sound moral principles. Where do you come from, Wallace? And what did your parents bring you up to like? Did they suggest an indiscriminate sex life? Did they send you to college so all you can become after that degree is to be destroyed by sex? I don't even want to go into the science of it--the disease risk and all that. Again, if you want to debate, bring it on. I am all for it. Be fair to the truth. I hope you'll be won over at the end, bro! Let me hear you!

Kwamina Nyan Wallace
Do you remember those Ghanaian movies in which a guy and a girl will kiss at a club or a sport bar and the next scene the girl will be puking (pregnant)? As a kid I really thought if one kisses a girl, the girl will get pregnant. Are these the kind of movies that you still want to be in production? Sex is not a taboo.

Arden Darko-Boateng
Thanks Wallace. I do appreciate your interest in this topic. First and foremost, let me state why I am interested in this discussion. The reason for my interest in the Ghanaian movie industry is this: the movie industry is a media tool; it reaches all people; it does communicate to us. It follows then that these movies are a powerful tool for shaping public opinion. Knowing very well that we live in a depraved society, it also becomes incumbent upon leadership (anyone who regards himself/herself as a leader) to take the initiative and define for society for what is right or wrong. Except you don't believe in God--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; except you don't believe that God is the Leader, and that He defines what is right and wrong, I can look at this argument from a different direction. But knowing you, I know you believe in God, and I hope that your perceptions are first of all shaped by the instructions of God given to us in the Bible.

This being the case, then, let me proceed to my argument. The gift of sex is a component of the Sacred Institution of Marriage. All throughout Scripture (let me know if you will like specific Biblical references, and I will be more than glad to provide them!), there are many places where God tells us about his abhorrence of fornication, adultery, and sexual immorality. The example of St. Paul's letter to the church at Corinth where he reminds us that our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit is one classic text. This said then, it follows that sex should be guarded as sacred--only between a husband and wife. Therefore, it follows also that the acting of sex scenes in movies is even wrong in itself because these actors are not married. But that's even of secondary concern to me now.

What is of primary concern to me now is that these sex scenes drive us away from our God; these movies tell us a great falsehood--that the perfect life is all about money, cars, girls, multiple sex partners, clubbing, partying, alcoholism, and all the other vices you can imagine. I am not exaggerating here. I know what I am talking about. These movies only corrupt our nation and saturate our minds and thoughts with immoral ideas which will affect the productivity and development we so earnestly seek.

We both reside in America now. I hope you will agree with me when I say that America, like many other countries that have departed from the moral values which their ancestors upheld, is now facing great challenges as they have legislated gay marriages, abortion (some aspects of abortion), end of life issues, healthcare and the like. It pays to safeguard our good traditions. We need to hold on to sound moral teachings; this said, however, I also acknowledge that our cultural practices which are inimical to development must be done away with--this is, however, for another discussion.

Let me hear you, bro! I am enjoying this!

Kwamina Nyan Wallace
Movies are not a Public service Announcement (PSA) vehicle for the Christian conservative or the government. Movie production is a business, hence if the production company is not running at a lost by producing such movies, then they should have every right to milk the profits by producing more of the genre that is making them money. Do you know that during the great depression in the 1930's, movies were the tools that helped people escape the fundamental reality? With that in mind, movies help us to envision a whole new world--a world that everything is possible, because the screen writer can paint utopia or hell in the next scene.
You are trying to make this a political or religious issue by using the word "leaders". This is a social issue. And when it comes to social issues, everyone who wants to make an impact should leave his or her political and or religious ideas aside.

NB: Yes, I was raised a Christian but when it comes to politics and social issues I have no pre-existing moral pivot on which I balance my ideas and suggestions.

Arden Darko-Boateng
Thanks, once again my dear Ghanaian brother from the best school in the whole wide world--Mfanstipim School (you know, it's always a good thing to ease of some tension lol!)

Let's get back on point now. Before I address your latest post, I want to know the angle from which you're looking at this discussion. I don't want to be unfair to you by saying you're not looking at this from a Christian stance; I don't also want to be unfair to you by saying you're being inconsistent in your arguments, and as such you should be careful about what you say.
Let me first start by addressing some of the concerns you raised. You first touched on movies being a money-making industry. Will you say that we should allow all industries to continue just because they're businesses and as such help people to make money and to escape the "fundamental reality" (please help me understand what the fundamental reality is, because I don't know what you're talking about. Thank you)? Will you say that we should allow industries like the armed robbery industry (because the armed robbers become millionaires!); sakawa (the sakawa boys become millionaires!); drugs (the drug barons become millionaires!) and similar industries to continue just because they are “money-making businesses"?

I know you will respond in the negative (I am hoping you do, because if you don't, then it means that you have further driven away into the lawlessness that so much plagues our world today). With your negative response to these questions then, I want to remind you again that America is not the standard for the world; Ghana is not the standard for the world; no country is the standard. For me, my standard is God's standards as can be seen in the Holy Christian Scriptures. If only you will be fair to the truth, you will understand that sexual immorality is not to be encouraged in any form at all.

Please let me hear you again. I hope I am beginning to convince you. I do admire your willingness to carry on with this debate and discussion. Please let me hear your next comments. Thanks.

Kwamina Nyan Wallace
Sorry, Arden but this is where we disagree. Why should our standards be of God and the Christian Scriptures? Because I believe in a state that does not centre its day to day working on a religious stands. Be it Christianity or Islam, etc. Yes, America may not be the standard for Ghana, but we as a country should have a vision. Where do we want to be as a country in respect to other countries in a certain time frame? And I can bet my life on it that majority of Ghanaians will like the Ghana to be at least half as successful as the US. If that is so, then US are our standard.

And to answer your examples in as little words as possible, all those examples you gave are all listed as a criminal industry under the constitution of Ghana. Therefore, I do not subscribe to such those industries. I will support any industries which abide by the laws of the land. And guess what. . . all those movie productions have broke no laws. They are all lawful under the law and also have age restrictions on the them. (PG to rated 18)

Arden Darko-Boateng
We are getting there, my brother! We are getting to the resolution of this matter. Again, let me remind you that we both need to be fair to the truth, and when we realize we are wrong, let us humbly concede our mistake and join the people in the right. Thanks.

Now, let me respond to your latest comment. Again, I am unsure about your ideology. Can you please let me know from which angle you are tackling this issue? Thanks. As I said previously, do not be mis-informed; neither should you be uninformed. All laws and indeed all of humanity are shaped by some ideology--it may be theistic or atheistic. And if it is theistic, it may be Christian or something else. I am a Christian. I hold the view that Church can NEVER and should NEVER be separated from the state. The Christian must always let people know that he/she is a follower of Jesus Christ regardless of where he/she is.

Therefore, if a Christian is in the office, it should be evident to all co-workers that this is a Christian; if a Christian is in class taking a philosophy class, it must be evident to all that he/she is a Christian. We cannot be double minded. I hate hypocrisy and double standards! Let your yes be yes and your no, no!

I want you to understand that I don't envy the US in any way. Although the US has some great things to show the world, I would rather want a Ghanaian nation that prospers wholistically--remember that the US is not prosperous in all ways; morality is at its lowest in the US, and they are paying the price for that. Whoever disagrees with this is not being fair to the truth on the ground!

I want Ghana to prosper in all ways--I want to see strong family units that uphold virtue; I want to see honest politicians and workers; I want to see students who strive hard to achieve their fullest potentials. I don't know what you will say, but I am of the opinion that all of these things I hope to see (and I believe you hope to see all these good things also) are things that Christianity gives instructions on and supports.

God tells us how to be prosperous in every way. That is why I am a Christian--God does not just address our spiritual needs only; He addresses all our needs. Therefore, let us not be deceived by the failing systems of some countries; Let us take the good sides of their systems, let us drop their negative practices. Let us hold on to our good traditions; let us also drop our bad traditions. Let us seek God's way forward, and it shall be well with us.

I encourage you to consider all that I have written, and please be fair to sound judgement and to the truth. Let me hear any comments you may have afterwards. Thanks.

Kwamina Nyan Wallace
OK you are assuming a lot on my behalf and this is when I will love to have this debate in front of an audience, because I will have torn you apart. First and foremost, the notion that the church and state should be one is absurd. The separation of Church and state is needed to sustain our way of life. As I have said from the beginning, we are all unique. Imagine this scenario:

A Christian wins the Presidency of a country in which the church and state are consolidated and seen as one. Therefore, he or she has the inalienable right to implement the rules of the Bible as the law of the land. And after his or her term, a Muslim wins the office of the Presidency. He or she also implements the Qur'an as the law of the land therefore making drinking any form of alcohol illegal, and also consuming any pork product illegal because it goes against the Qur'an.

Remember, there is nowhere in the Bible that says that is forbidden to eat pork; therefore, the laws of the land must be change from the laws used by the previous administration to this new one head by a Muslim. Imagine if a Hindu wins the next election. That means the consumption of beef will now be illegal. These are just a few problems on how the consolidation of the church and state can spring out.

Also, morality in the State is not at his lowest in America. This is because morality is measured from the views of the on-looker. I don't think that if I ask an ultra-liberal he or she will be in agreement with your observation on the morality of the people of the US.

Debate 2. Cause of debate was triggered by the plea below—a concurrent debate also on the same issue on Ghanaian movies.
Arden: If you're also against what is currently being shown in our movies, please speak out! If the leadership of our nation will sit unconcerned, then the young people must show them that we won't. It's people who shape national views; let your voice be heard!

Kwamina Nyan Wallace
Do you want the government in everything Ghanaians do? Like example, what one should wear on every single day of the week? Or wait, let see...yea I got one, should the government regulate the kind of clothing girls put on in the country? Because it sounds like that what you are crying for. If you want that, you can change your citizenship status to Ugandan. And Again to you and all the Christian conservatives please stop enforcing your ideas on the country.

Arden Darko-Boateng
I do appreciate your concerns, Wallace. And I am excited that we can have an open and honest discussion about this issue. Again, I want to remind that we should both be open to the truth, and concede our wrong when we come to that realisation. Thanks. Now, I will proceed to address your questions.

I will be very happy if someone tells me what clothes are in order, and what is not--if you want to call this person the government, let it be; if you want to call her my mother (Mama Abi), let it be; if you want him to be my father (Dada Arden), let it be. Of course, we need order in the society. Don't be uninformed and don't be misinformed--everything you see in society is because some human being advocated for it. That is exactly what all of us are doing--we are all advocating for what we believe is true.
If you agree with me on this, then, let me say that there is enough reason why parents teach their children through their childhood what is good and what is bad. It is not out of place for the government to do same. Indeed, the philosophy of government involvement is seen all around us. That is why the government legislates laws and says this is in order, but that is out of order. As a political science major, I expect you to understand this.

Please let me hear your response. I really am enjoying this discussion, and I sincerely appreciate your comments. Thank you, bro! :)

Kwamina Nyan Wallace
I don't know whether your response is out of respect for your elders, but I will remind you that the rights and FREEDOM enshrined in the Ghanaian constitution are there for this particular situation. WE have the freedom of expression, movement, etc. So why will you be perfectly fine out an institution like a school or work, to oblige by the common order to what you wear. By doing so, you are undermining the constitution of the country, you are making the constitution just a symbol.

This is not about uniformity; uniformity is when we build our community in a planned order for the betterment of the whole. What you are prescribing is tantamount to dictatorship. Because by what you are cheering for, someone will be dictating what I wear and watch. And a free society like Ghana can't afford that.

Arden Darko-Boateng

Again, I want to first start by saying I admire your willingness to carry on with this discussion.
Let me take you down memory lane to your days as the Scarecrow in 1S3 and 2S3 at Mfantsipim School, Cape Coast, Ghana. Those were the same days when I represented the school together with Bacteria (KNUST) to win the Regional Constitutional Quiz... (this is to let you know that although I am not a lawyer, when it comes to constitutional issues, I am as competent to speak to them as any other informed person is--I really know what I am talking about).
Again, still in Mfantsipim, I want to remind you that I was nominated for debater of the year; this nomination was not for nothing; my nomination was to recognise the debating skills which God has freely given me. This said, then... let me first start by greeting you,

Agya Crow, mekyia wo. T'di fo nyinaa nso kyia wo!

Now, let's get back on point. When we talk about freedoms, we must also simultaneously think about limitations to those freedoms--freedoms are never absolutes; they're always relative to some context and situation and circumstance. Therefore, it does not follow that we are free to do anything we want (and over here, I am not even referring to the Christian Scriptures; I am only looking at the Constitution of Ghana).

Again, remember that Constitutions are written by human beings like you and me. If you don't know, let me inform you that currently, in Ghana, the 1992 Constitution is being reviewed. We have laws in Ghana that prohibit nudity (I hope you know that); we also have laws in Ghana that specify who should have sex with whom (I hope you know that homosexuality is wrong and illegal and punishable by law in Ghana). Also, be reminded that under Ghanaian laws, we have laws on censorship that regulate what can be shown on TV and what cannot. It is, therefore, not out of place to begin discussions calling for stricter laws to control the movie industry because we believe where the current movies lead to is the death of our nation.

Let me hear you, Opanyin Crow! I hope you remember the day you led me to the Don's house to watch the World cup qualifier between Ghana and B. Faso. Tomorrow, the Local Black Stars will be playing B. Faso for CHAN qualification. I hope we win.

Over to you, Crow!

Kwamina Nyan Wallace
I do not know a state you believe in, but I will like to live in one that when we saying our constitution entails the freedom of expression, we really mean the freedom of expression, whereby one can free express his or her sexuality be it been straight or gay. I do not believe in limited freedoms, but I also acknowledge that freedoms are not absolute; hence, one can't walk into someone's room or house and say I have the freedom of expression. because I believe that where one's freedom ends another person's begin. But Arden, I fear that you are looking for Ghana to be a police state. And that is a problem.

Arden Darko-Boateng
It seems you don't want to tell me where you're arguing from. But from your comments, I know you're not regarding the Bible as your authority. If you won't, I will. But let's put that aside for now. I don't know if you don't want the police to be a part of our society. I also don't know what you mean by police state. Do we not need laws? Can I go about committing any crimes because "I live in a free country"? Who defines what is right and what is wrong (in your opinion)? Please answer all these questions for me. Thanks.

Kwamina Nyan Wallace
No… a police-state is simply a state with an overbearing government. And yes… you are right… I have never and will never argue using the Bible or any religious template as my pivot point. That is why I refrain from debating religion.

Comment by Ismail Alidu (a Muslim friend who read the thread and responded):
Well…Well I'm very impressed at how this raging debate has gone on. Indeed both of you have shown great dexterity in the manner you have addressed your views. If I may come in here; I believe I have to side slightly with Kwamina here. I fully understand Arden here as well but what Arden is asking for is too much is the modern age of ours.

Let's remind Arden that there are many followers of other religions that would also want their religion and beliefs to be evident everywhere, but then this cannot be practiced everywhere, because we live in a global world now with the exception of a country or state that is carved out based on a certain religion. Arden would have been spot on if Ghana was Vatican city!

Yes, Vatican city. Arden states that making the church and state one has great benefits such as good moral values, etc. Yes, that is true, but we can't blame recent poor moral values on the sort of movies made. Personally, I don't think this kind of 'porn' type of Ghanaian movies is good at all. But, the source of the poor moral virtues is not the movies. As Kwamina stated earlier, making movies is a business. They want to make profit and before a movie is made they examine what consumers want. Apparently in Ghana there is a great consumer interest in these types of movies. One has just to 'pop' into any of these local movie stores and observe the number of the foreign porn sold right on the stalls in the free view of onlookers or passer-by's.

And it's not a secret that they are really selling. It was only recently that TV3 or Metro TV evening news broadcasted a report about the growing appetite for porn movies by Ghanaians. The reason most gave was that it helped their marital lives and so on. So now, since there was a demand, it seems the Ghanaian movie industry made the business move by producing slightly pornographic movies to cash in.

So I don't blame them at all. So Arden, you have to look deeper and maybe come out with reasons for the recent poor moral values we all want to reduce. I must state also that this porno type of movies do not help in raising moral values at all!! But actually, they do the opposite slightly. I say slightly because firstly, these movies are not aired on state televisions so consumers cannot complain that they were caught out! And secondly, they are a 'reaction' to a demand and not the 'stimulus' to the 'reaction'. You wouldn't have problems understanding that Arden. I appreciate your good intentions very much.

P.S @ Arden, if you are going to base all your arguments on the Bible-- which I fully understand--, you should know that you are not speaking to all the Ghanaian youth but Christian Ghanaian youth only which I don't think would go far in achieving your aim.

Comments by Effrim Tabbicca in response to the thread:

Let me butt in.

Honestly, I do not believe religious beliefs should have any effect in shaping the governance of any country. After all, we are not all the same and we cannot all believe the same things. For example taking gay marriages, I believe any form of gay relationship is a sin against my God, but I do not believe people should be prevented from doing what pleases them so long as it does not harm anyone else, it is their most basic of rights as human beings, and honestly… it is in the light of such freedom that true obedience to God can be seen.

Unifying church and state has proven in many cases to be a disastrous thing, take for instance Emperor Constantine who unified the then church and the governance of the Roman empire- at least we now know how the dark ages came about and the atrocities committed by the Catholic Church during those times.

And seriously, I do not think it is hypocrisy for me to be of this opinion; after all, we are all given the freedom and choice to accept Christ and live a righteous life or not (was it not God who gave the people of Israel the right to choose life or death, or Adam and Eve the right to choose life or death)? I believe that people should be given their right to choose, and sincerely, I do not see anywhere in the New Testament that people should be coerced into doing the right things.
I sincerely wish all men were Christians living upright lives before God, but men should be given the right to make that choice. (For God seeks those that will worship him in truth and in Spirit). It is primarily for this reason that we have what we call the age of Enlightenment (which is not totally a good thing in Christian perspective, but was needed).

I will be a hypocrite when I preach against stealing and I myself am caught stealing.
So honestly you can't stop the movie companies from producing what they produce unless it is proven to be harmful to the nation. If you don't agree with the nudity in the movies, then I suggest you stop watching them.

Secondly if you are considering things from the Christian point of view, I think you are swinging the ax at the branches when the root of the problem is the Adamic sin-- the salvation from which leads to righteousness. Most known revivals, for example, the Welsh revival when drunkenness and profanity were the main evils in Wales; the evangelist Evan Roberts transformed a whole country through the proclamation of the Gospel and not a legislative process. And I believe that God wants us to establish his kingdom on earth through the same means (for the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of power. For if I cast a spirit through finger of God then the kingdom of God has come to you.).
Evangelism is the only cure.

Arden's response to Ismail's comments:

Ismail, thank you so much for your comments. I appreciate your comments, and your points are well-noted. As such, I want to address the issues you raised. First of all, let me define what I mean by "The Church can never and should never be separate from the State". By that statement, I mean that:
• Christians should not put up hypocritical behaviours--one behaviour when we're in the church and another when we are elsewhere.
• the Christian values and principles like social justice, justice in general, peace, moral purity, etc. be applied in ruling the state.

What that statement (of not separating church and state) does not mean is this:
We as Christians can never and should impose our religion on others--we can only convince people to become Christians, but we should never legislate laws that say, for example, that anyone who does not go to Church on Sundays must pay a fine. That is not what Jesus Christ taught us, and that would be counter-productive in the government set-up.

Ismail, I hope you know that we have laws. Now the fundamental question here is this: Who defined what was going to be legal and what was not?

Let me answer that question. Human beings were those who sat down and said A will be right and B will be wrong. Similarly, I as a human being am strongly advocating for what I believe is right, and condemning in absolute terms what I know is wrong. I am attempting to shape public opinion--I want to convince people to accept my thinking because I know that the suggestions I (and in indeed as you can see many others who have commented on this issue) am putting across have great benefits for this country.

Thanks so much for reading the entire discussion and raising your comments. Feel free to respond to my response. Thanks.

Now, these are direct conversations that ensued between 4 young Ghanaian friends who were all classmates at some point in Mfantsipim School, Cape Coast. This conversation was carried out on the facebook platform.

For the purposes of the readers of this website, there has been slight editing (especially with regards to grammar). However, there still are instances where original texts have been retained. The purpose of publishing this here is to inform public discussion and opinion even as we collectively decide on the destiny of our nation. Let us continue with the conversation.

Thank you for reading.


Arden Darko-Boateng
Roberts Wesleyan College, Rochester, New York, USA.

Kwamina Nyan Wallace
State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, USA.

Ismail Alidu
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.

Effrim Ato Tabbicca
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.

quot-img-1The coward men who die mamy times before their death,are mostly people who are only just covered with the skin of Men.

By: Francis Tawiah quot-img-1