Unitary Government (Characteristics of Government )

Government SS 1 Week: 8

Characteristics of Government

Unitary 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

  1. It is best practiced in a homogenous state.
  2. The system is easy to practice in a relatively small country.
  3. There is no constitutional division of power.
  4. There is parliamentary supremacy in a unitary state.
  5. The constitution of a unitary state is flexible.
  6. They have the power to modify the constitution.
  7. The central government remains the only source of power.
  8. The central government can delegate functions to other component units.

Reasons for the Adoption of a Unitary State

  1. It can be adopted in a society which is comparatively homogenous in terms of common language, religion, custom and traditions.
  2. It is easy and best adopted in a small country.
  3. It is adopted where young people can give adequate support to the government.
  4. It is adopted where accountability and control are best initiated.
  5. There is coherent and efficient administration in a unitary state.

Advantages of a Unitary State

  1. A unitary state is cheap to run for there is no need for duplication of ministries and personnel.
  2. Quick action is taken in the areas of decision making.
  3. The method of amending the constitution is easy.
  4. There is no conflict of authority regarding responsibility.
  5. Absence of tribalism can bring about unity.
  6. It promotes a strong and efficient government.

Disadvantages of a Unitary State

  1. It is not suitable in a large and heterogeneous state.
  2. The centralization of power may lead to dictatorship.
  3. The minority could be oppressed by the majority tribes.
  4. It does not encourage wider representation of the people in government.
  5. It slows down the development of various units in the state.
  6. There is poor attention to the local areas