Posted by / Thursday 9 March 2017 / No comments

Control of the executive

The executive is one of the three arms of government apart from the judiciary and the legislature. The main function of the executive is to formulate and implement policies of government. In order to proven them from becoming dictatorial, some mechanisms have been put in place to control the or powers and functions.

Judicial control
One of the ways in which the executive arm of government can be controlled is through the courts. An action can be taken against the executive in court and when it is proven that the executive acted in contravention of the constitution OR beyond the powers granted to it by same, the court can declare the action null and void or of no consequence.

Legislative control
Another way in which the executive can be controlled is through the legislature. In a presidential system of government, for example, the president nominates people as ministers but before they can assume their office, they have to be vetted by the legislature and approved. Also, the legislature must approve the annual budget, prepared by the executive before any expenditure can be made.

Impeachment or vote of no confidence
The executive can be controlled in other ways. For instance, in a presidential system of government, the president can be impeached if he or she conducts him or herself in ways that bring the name of the office into disrepute. In a parliamentary system, on the other hand, the legislature could pass a vote of no confidence in the executive and the entire team must resign for a new government to be formed.

Periodic elections
Another way in which the executive can be controlled is the use of the ballot box. In every democratic dispensation, there is bound to elections from time to time to renew the mandate of a government or to change an unpopular one. The fear of losing power to another party serves as a check on the activities of the executive.

The media
The media, which is regarded as the fourth estate of the realm also serves as a check on the powers of the executive. A vibrant media can serve as a watch-dog, closely watching every move of the government and exposing every bad move that they make. Since no government wants to be seen in a bad light by the electorates, it serves as a check on them to conduct themselves properly.

Boycotts and demonstrations
Boycotts and demonstrations can also be used as a tool to control the executive. It is the constitutional rights of all citizens to go on demonstration to voice their dislike of any government policy or programme. Anytime the government of the day fails to listen to reason, one of the measures to resort to is boycotts and demonstrations. This can be very effective if successfully applied.

1. Highlight six ways in which the executive is controlled in the exercise of its duties. (12 marks)

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