Home Constitutional Law MERITS OF A UNITARY SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT

MERITS OF A UNITARY SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT

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MERITS

  1. A unitary system of government usually removes the problem of  constitutional friction between the national and regional government.
  2.  It promotes the spirit of oneness among the people and eliminates the  feeling of double loyalty to one’s regional government and then to  the national government.
  3.  A unitary government by concentrating powers in the national  government tends to promote a strong and stable government, than a  federal system where power is divided between the federal and state  governments.
  4.  It is small and simple to operate since there is no duplication of  government and offices at every level.
  5.  Every other government in the country being a creation and an  extension of the national government, it therefore requires lesser  personnel and financial resources.
  6.  It prevents the waste of human, financial and material resources  unlike a federal system of government which is flamboyant with the  duplication of government and offices.
  7.  A unitary system of government usually has a flexible constitution.  Thus the constitution even though written, can easily be amended to  meet the changing social, economic and political needs of the country.
  8. A unitary system of government is by nature small. This makes it  easy for consultations to be concluded and decisions quickly made.
  9. As a result of the small size of the government, it is usually less  bureaucratic unlike a federal system where the number of  governments and authorities to be consulted are usually more.

THE DEMERITS OF A UNITARY SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT

  1.  Power is concentrated in the central or national government. Due to this, it may be burdened with too many functions and  responsibilities with which it may not cope very well.
  2.  The concentration of power in the national government may  encourage dictatorial tendencies on the part of the executive.
  3.  The concentration of powers in the national government prevents  autonomy as the local authorities are discouraged from exercising  powers within their district, unless authorized or delegated by the  national government.
  4. The concentration of powers in the national government as the  decision making authority in the country, may make it look down  on good initiatives at the local level and kill initiative at that  level.
  5.  The concentration of powers in the central government in the  capital city and the small size of personnel needed to run a unitary system of government may make the government seem  far away from the people, especially those in the rural and local  parts of the country.
  6.  It is not suitable for a large country with a large population,  multi-ethnic population or diverse languages.
  7. It is unsuitable for a multi-ethnic country, as the majority may  hold on to power and dominate the minorities who may be compelled to struggle for self determination or independence.
  8.  The concentration of powers in the central government which is controlled by a relatively small number of personnel, may lead to different constituent parts of the country feeling left out, forgotten or marginalised and thereby breeding disaffection.
  9.  A unitary system of government is unsuitable for a multi-ethnic  and multi-lingual country. If it is adopted instead of federalism, the majority will lord it over the minorities and it may lead to disaffection, instability and even civil unrest.
  10.  The small size of a unitary government and the small size of  personnel needed to run it does not create opportunity for a wide  representation of the Central government.
  11.  Furthermore, the small size of a unitary government which is a  result of the merger of the legislative and the executive arms of  government, the non-division of powers and the non-duplication  of offices, do not create employment opportunities for the people  as opposed to a federal or confederal system of government, both  of which usually have a big public administration or civil service  and have a lot of employment opportunities.

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