EDITORIAL: Leaders fail to inspire on vaccination

22 June 2021 | Opinion

It is often said that leaders must know when to lead, when to follow and when to accompany. At the time when leaders from across different domains are expected to lead their flock to vaccinations centres, they choose to follow instead.

Leaders command power - which they ought to use to influence the behaviour of their followers. There are people in this country who will only go for the Covid-19 vaccination if their spiritual, traditional or political leaders precede them in the queue.

In other words, the only thing standing between that needle and their shoulder is a word of approval or exemplary act by their mentors.

Traditional leaders in particular have a big obligation to sway the views of their subjects, who are often conservative and, at times, semi-illiterate. These are hardliners who are prepared to do anything their chiefs say. The same applies to religious leaders, who often have the minds of their parishioners in the palm of their hands.

What are they using that influence for if not to inspire the masses to get vaccinated and protect themselves – and others – from severe effects of the virus and, in most cases, from dying? What is more noble than a leader protecting the lives of those who worship them through inspiration and responsible behaviour?

Leadership is not an art of sitting on some throne while being served by the crawling faithful. At the heart of leadership – at least on paper – is servitude.

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