Posted by / Monday 26 December 2016 / No comments

The sources of political authority

Political authority can be defined as the power to control and direct the behaviour of people who live within a person or groups of persons’ area of influence. In other words, to have political authority is to have control over other people.

The constitution of a country makes provision for the establishment of certain institutions of state. It, for example, establishes the three organs of the legislature, executive and the judiciary and it allocates powers to these organs. The authority that is exercised by these institutions of state and others created by it is conferred on them by the constitution.

The electorates
Another source of political authority is the electorates. In every state where periodic elections take place, political office holders can only enter office into only when they are duly elected by the people. When they are dissatisfied by the conduct of a government, they withdraw its legitimacy by voting it out of power.

Some forms of political power is inherited from a dead king or queen. This is usual in a monarchical system of government. Normally when the incumbent passes on, the next in line is put on the throne to continue to exercise the legitimate power that his or her predecessor used to exercise while alive.

Some leaders are just charismatic. They are able to carry the people along with their charisma. People tend to gravitate toward charismatic leaders and are mostly loyal to him in most circumstances. Some charismatic leaders of the world include Adolf Hitler and Ghana’s Jerry John Rawlings.

The wealth of a country can also be a source of political power for that nation. It is easy to have considerable influence over another nation if that nation depends almost entirely of the wealth of another nation. The wealth of China has given her a lot of leverage in the international circles where her opinion matters so much in the new world political order.

Force of arms
Some people can take over political by force. This is usually in a coup d’etat. This is most prevalent in Africa where a group of adventurers take up guns and topple their government. Some also just enter the bush and begin to fight the government of the day by taking the country inch by inch until they overrun the capital. This was used by Charles Taylor in Liberia and President Yoweri Musseveni of Uganda

1. Highlight six sources of political power.

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