Religious leaders have responsibility to warn followers. A recap of the news around the country at the weekend showed many mosques and churches opened up for their members to pray together. There was excitement as people found their way to the various places of worship.
A good number of the premises were seen strictly observing standard operating procedures, for example social distancing and sanitizing were well followed and those without masks were sent back home. On various social media platforms, some houses of worship stated the number of people allowed and what was expected of those who made it.
What this shows is that people regard their religious leaders in high esteem. They believe in them and assume what they say is right and should be done. These religious leaders, therefore, have a huge responsibility during this time to preach the message of keeping everyone safe. Human beings have a tendency of relaxing the rules once they feel the threat seems far away.
During the second wave of the dreadful Covid-19 spread in the country, many were scared into keeping the SOPs because they saw how it affected family, friends and others.
However, once the numbers of infections and deaths began to go down, they relaxed, and now, as per the information coming from Ministry of Health, the numbers have started climbing again. Religious leaders, therefore, have a big part to play in getting their members to stay alert.
For that matter, they should ensure that the strict observance of SOPs is maintained not only during these first two or three weeks after the lockdown, or for that matter, only on Sundays. These should be maintained everyday all the time, until the restrictions are eased.
Secondly, the leaders should keep reminding their followers what to do even when they are away from church. They should emphasize the importance of keeping the rules everywhere they go and not only when they come to worship. They should regularly remind their flock through different platforms of the dangers of relaxing and what that will do to their meetings – a third wave might see another lockdown instituted and places of worship closed, for a third time.
Finally, they should remember to always be the fine example, by keeping all these rules, getting vaccinated and telling their congregation about it, and encouraging them to do the same. Their leadership in doing all that is right, at a time like this, is much-needed.