Apr 7, 2019 in Economics

Institutions in Africa


Africa destiny to development heavily relies on their style of leadership they employ through their democratic institutions. The African nations have been experiencing the confliction problems in their political structure. The three arms of the government had failed to interlink and employ the rule of check and balance whereby each arm of government that is executive, legislature and judiciary will want to operate independently. There no any other arm can choose to block their procedures, events, and this contrary to the principle of check and balance. Whenever the three arms of the government are not cooperating, it tends to affect the presidential power and the democracy of a country at large.

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The Obstacles to Maintaining the Separation of Powers and Checks and Balance

Separation of power and maintaining check and balance is a dream of any Africa in their pursuit of absolute democracy. The majority of the African countries are experiencing obstacles to achieve separation of powers in the three arms of government to operate independently. The African government has been designed in a manner, which most powers is vested in on an arm of the government, and this often suppresses the other bodies of the government. The executive, which includes the president, has the most powers, and this has led to factors such abuse of power and dominance of president's powers. Vesting too much power President is the primary obstacle to achieving separation of power and governs with a system of check and balance. Separations of power would mean, all the three arms have equal powers, and the president dominance will be curtailed. No president would like to have a reduced impact on the fear of losing his or her presidency. 

The other obstacle in the quest for separation of power most of the African government is corruption. Now, many African countries have tried to implement a system of separation of powers with an aid of constitution amendments. The problem emanates when the official under these dockets runs the power vested in the institutions. Officials in the government's institutions tend to take this privilege and abuse the power for their personal aggrandizement. The arm like an executive, which contains cabinet secretaries, can give them an opportunity to exploit the national resource if the aspect of check and balance is not applied. Corruption has been heavily noted in many African countries, and this has made some of the African to be hesitant adopting separation of powers without check and balance. 

Some countries like Kenya and Nigeria are few among many African nations, which have had their constitution amended and promulgated. The new constitution has introduced the system of power separation and maintained it using check and balance, but the shadow of the previous system is affecting the current regime. For example, even after the separation of powers, the legislature arm has not yet gained separate operation because it is still affected by the executive homogeneity, which was allowing the ruling of one political party. A state of affairs, which triggers the shadow of the previous regime to affect the new transitions, is brought about by an integration of path dependency, legislative resignation effect from the constitution.

The legislature in African democracy has been suffering from some material gaps since these countries gained independence at the expense of the executive branch. The separation of powers in the arms of the government has come to reality in many African but has failed to work efficiently due to lack of absolute autonomy in office ad lack of experience. The lack of experiences arises because the institutions were used to a single party regime rather a new regime with multiple parties. Another, obstacle to a separation of power and check and balance is the lack of traditional legislative autonomy. When the legislative autonomy is lacking, the county law making bodies will not have comprehensive principles of institutional prerogatives that will guide them in the law making process. The conflict between the legislature and executive, because the executive in African countries has the tendency of operating without a genuine and credible counterbalance and the legislature, has little power to block its selfish movements and discipline the organization. The presidential power is also limited by the persistent dominance of the executive under the constitution provision.

The separation of power and has become difficult for work in some of the African countries because upon separation, some of the branches become weaker than other branches. For example, the when the separation of power is implemented, the old habits renders the legislature to become weak. Additionally, the legislature itself is responsible for marginalizing their capabilities regarding their roles. Another limiting factor, some roles of the legislature tend to go redundant or obsolete in the event of separation of power. For example, the role legislature of conducting of the robust overseeing and supervision of the executive operations has notably gone unused thereby giving the executive a wide leeway of operation.

Roles of Legislature, Judiciary, and Political Parties

The legislature roles in the new dispensation of democracy have not altered much. The legislature has three primary function under the new democracy. The first faction is the mobilization of resources by imposing taxes and securing funds to generate the resources available in the country. The legislature contains the parliament and it is the duty of the Parliament to impose taxes on taxable activities countries and authorizing the borrowing of funds from both local and international financial institutions. The second role of the legislature is the allocation of resources an in the various county of a country. Some African countries use a federal system, which has divided the countries into a series if state-like regions called counties. The legislature ensures public finances are equitably distributed to respective countries for development purposes. The final role of the legislature is the supervisory function. Once it has completed the allocation of resources, it has a duty to supervise how the allocated resources are utilized in each county to avoid chances of misappropriation. 

The Judiciary branch also has duties to undertake in the new democracy. The constitution has granted the judicial service commission with a role to recommend credible candidates to be appointed as judges to the president. Another role vested in the power of the judiciary is to advise the national government regarding the issues of boosting the efficiency of the delivering of justice. It is also the duty of the judiciary to control the staffs of the judiciary by determining their remuneration and period of terms in offices. The primary objective of the judiciary along its roles is to promote and expedite the accountability and independence of the judiciary and other arms of government. 

The political parties have a role in providing preferable leaders who can be part of the branch of the government. Additionally, it is the duties of political parties is to provide opposition to the ruling government and this useful to provide competition that helps in reducing the president dominance. 


In conclusions, the role of institutions in the new democracy has improved the political ideology in African countries. There are no more president dominance and single presidency rules. The intuitions through separation of powers and regulation through check and balance has fascinated the efficient operation of the government in line with its duty towards the citizens. The system of check and balances provides an overseeing and supervising the operation of the arms of the government. 


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