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The disadvantages of a Confederation



THE DISADVANTAGES OF A CONFEDERATION

Definition
A confederation can be described as a group of independent states that come together in the form of a flexible federation where more power is retained by the regional units than the central government. 
In 1981, Gambia and Senegal came together to form the Senegambian Confederation which later collapsed in 1989.

DISADVANTAGES OF A CONFEDERATION
Encourages political disunity
One of the disadvantages of a confederacy is that it encourages disunity. Under the system, the component units retain a considerable amount of power and take care of their own foreign policy. Being more powerful than the central government, there is the tendency for disunity between the component units on the one hand and the central government on the other.
Easily disintegrate
Another of the disadvantages of a confederacy is how easily it collapses. Inbuilt in the union is the option to secede if so desired. This right of secession becomes the reason why some confederal governments disintegrate so easily.

Weakened central government
Another weakness of a confederacy is how weak the central government tends to be. One of features of the system is that the component units are given more powers than the central government and actually exercise more powers than their counterpart at the centre. This makes the central government very weak.
Loyalty to the federating units
Individuals within a confederation owe allegiance to the component units rather than the central government. In order words, a confederation does not have direct power over the citizens of the associated states and is not usually entrusted with the conduct of their foreign affairs.

Reduced commitment of units to the centre
Unlike in the case of the central government in a federal system where the embodiment of the state displayed in the form of national symbols such national flags and anthems, a confederal government is not identified with these symbols. Subsequently, the commitment of the citizens is more to the component units than to the central government.
 
Unhealthy political rivalry
The system may generate unhealthy political rivalry among the component states, possibly over disparities in the level of development and natural endowments in the various states such as minerals and forest resources etc. Such a disparity may contribute to political instability.

SAMPLE QUESTIONS
1. a. What a confederation?
    b. Highlight five disadvantages of a confederation. 

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