Unitary Government (Characteristics of Government )
Government SS 1 Week: 8
Characteristics of Government
Unitary government may be defined as one in which all powers and authorities for the exercise of the functions of running a state are concentrated in the hands of a single central government and any other component units. A unitary state has a unitary government. Examples of unitary states are Britain, France, Kenya, Namibia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, etc.
Features of a Unitary State
- It is best practiced in a homogenous state.
- The system is easy to practice in a relatively small country.
- There is no constitutional division of power.
- There is parliamentary supremacy in a unitary state.
- The constitution of a unitary state is flexible.
- They have the power to modify the constitution.
- The central government remains the only source of power.
- The central government can delegate functions to other component units.
Reasons for the Adoption of a Unitary State
- It can be adopted in a society which is comparatively homogenous in terms of common language, religion, custom and traditions.
- It is easy and best adopted in a small country.
- It is adopted where young people can give adequate support to the government.
- It is adopted where accountability and control are best initiated.
- There is coherent and efficient administration in a unitary state.
Advantages of a Unitary State
- A unitary state is cheap to run for there is no need for duplication of ministries and personnel.
- Quick action is taken in the areas of decision making.
- The method of amending the constitution is easy.
- There is no conflict of authority regarding responsibility.
- Absence of tribalism can bring about unity.
- It promotes a strong and efficient government.
Disadvantages of a Unitary State
- It is not suitable in a large and heterogeneous state.
- The centralization of power may lead to dictatorship.
- The minority could be oppressed by the majority tribes.
- It does not encourage wider representation of the people in government.
- It slows down the development of various units in the state.
- There is poor attention to the local areas