Posted by / Saturday 25 February 2017 / No comments

Why the powers of the executive has been increasing in recent times

The executive arm of government is that which is charged with responsibility of formulating policies and implementing same for the smooth administration of the state. 

The concept of Separation of Powers postulates that the three arms of government namely, the Legislature, the executive and the judiciary must be independent in personnel, functions and powers. However, in recent times the powers of the executive have increased tremendous to the disadvantage of the other two organs and reasons have been assigned for this state of affairs.

Presidential power of appointment
One of the reasons why the powers of the executive have increased in recent years is the power of the president to appoint ministers of state. The modern executive powers, exercised by the president, give him or her, the power to hire and fire ministers and government functionaries. He or she also has the power to appoint ambassadors or High Commissioners and judges. Such appointing power has helped to increase the powers of the executive.

Power of prerogative of mercy
The modern executive has been granted power under the constitution to grant pardon to convicted criminals. Though under many circumstances, the president must act in consultation with other statutory bodies, the final decision lies with him or her. This power to grant mercy to those convicted by the law has also increased the powers of the modern executive.

The power of veto
Another cause of the increased powers of the executive is the power of veto that is exercised by the president. The constitution has granted powers to the president to veto a law passed by parliament but which, in the candid wisdom of the president is not good for the state under current circumstances. In other words, that law which has been vetoed by the president cannot become law.

Powers of emergency
In times of crisis, where a state of emergency is declared, the executive arm of government is granted wide discretionary powers to take the necessary measures to contain the emergency. Under such circumstances, the executive assumes certain powers that are not available to it under normal circumstances. This exercise of discretionary powers in times of emergencies has increased the powers of the executive against the other arms of government.

The exercise of delegated legislations
For several reasons, the Parliament of a country has to delegate some of its powers to other bodies to make laws on its behalf. Such powers are delegated through Acts of Parliament to other bodies who then are able to role together the powers of the executive, legislature and the judiciary into one. Such powers are exercised by extensions of the executive arm of government at the local levels. This has also helped to increase the powers of the executive in modern times.

Quasi-judicial functions
There are times when the executive arm of government performs certain quasi-judicial functions for the state. This sometimes happens when a tribunal is established to adjudicate a matter in ministries, departments and agencies. The executive is most of the times a member of these tribunals and this allows it to exercise judicial powers. This has also increased the powers of the modern executive.

1. Explain six of the factors that have contributed to the increase in the powers of the executive arm of government in recent years.

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