LEADERS at all levels are supposed to be role models who should live exemplary lives according to the honour accorded to them by society.
By virtue of their positions and obligations in life, leaders are expected to be custodians of not only the law or regulations but also moral values and principles that guide human interactions.
For a Christian nation like Zambia, it is expected that leaders would lead by example in upholding biblical principles and values.
It is therefore disturbing when leaders who are held in high esteem by society display conduct that abrogates and corrupts the same morals and principles they are supposed to promote.
We have heard of politicians, the clergy, prominent artists and other leaders of various groups falling short of the expectations of the communities that look up to them for guidance.
For leaders, whether political, corporate, religious or family, their call is much higher as they are expected to live above reproach as opposed to ordinary individuals.
One of the attributes expected of a leader is integrity.
Integrity is the practice of being honest and showing a consistent and uncompromising adherence to strong moral and ethical principles and values.
Leaders as influencers have an obligation to influence those they lead in a positive way.
If a leader is morally bankrupt, how can such a one influence those under them to uphold high moral values? It therefore goes to say if those in positions of influence fail the moral test, it is practically impossible for them to tutor those under them. This principle is true of any kind of leadership, whether political, corporate, religious, social or family.
Are sex scandals on the rise or is it that technology is amplifying these incidents? Whatever the answer, it is evident that there are too many to ignore.
Not too long ago there was the infamous video of ‘amai busa’ and reports of a leader who allegedly died in disgraceful circumstances.
Social media is always buzzing with scandal after scandal. There is need for the nation and the Church in particular to rise up and enhance the promotion of moral values.
If adults are embroiled in such scandals, how then will they raise a morally upright generation?
How will they counsel and guide those who look up to them?
It creates a breakdown of the value and moral transmission system, leading to a failed society.
Any strong society stands on the firm foundation of morality. A society without moral conscience is a danger to itself. Needless to say, it is the individual citizens that contribute to the overall moral uprightness of any nation. If citizens are morally bankrupt, how can the nation be morally strong?
American psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg said, “The unit of effectiveness of education is not the individual but the group. An individual’s moral values are primarily important for society as they contribute to a moral social climate, not as they induce particular pieces of behaviour.”
Simply said, it is the individual characters that determine the morality of a country.
The Church has a daunting task to entrench Christian values.
Unfortunately the degradation of morals has penetrated every sector, including the Church, which is supposed to be the custodian of moral values.
There is need to remind people that true success in life revolves around integrity. Any foundation void of integrity is bound to crumble at any instance.
The fact that some people have been exposed does not mean they are the only ones living such lives. There are many more whose skeletons are locked up in cupboards.
The best for such is to draw lessons from the humiliation and loss suffered by those who fate has exposed.
The best and safest principle to adopt in life, whether one is a leader or not, is one espoused by American statesman Thomas Jefferson that:
“Whenever you are to do a thing, though it can never be known but to yourself, ask yourself how you would act were all the world looking at you, and act accordingly.”
It is a lesson for all to act honourably both in public and private.