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Unpacking general structure of federal government and its duties as proposal for Malawi

By Nenenji Mlangeni

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The aim of this write-up is to give you a glimpse of what a federal government looks like structurally and functionally so that you’re put in a position to appreciate the system.

As said in many of my posts, a fedral government is having two crucial parts which are;

1. National government

2. States governments.

NATIONAL GOVERNMENT

Names of national and states governments may deffer from one country to another for instance in south Africa states are called provinces in other ways and in Switzerland they’re called Platoons but that doesn’t change the functionality of these states.

National government is usually the one that carries out national businesses. It is headed by President, Prime Minister or King/Queen depending on the country. The structures are very similar to unitary as we’ve  Executive, Judiciary and legislature.

Executive — This is made up of President and cabinet, the president is voted same way we do under unitary  but ministers appointment may differ. In other countries ministers have to undergo parliament process to be approved to ensure competence.

This helps to reduce the  -isms the appointing authorities may have. For instance in Germany ministers are not appointed by the president but a chancellor, (not a college chancellor, find out from Germany politics) and a chancellor is more powerful than the president.

In Germany the president once voted into power he or she automatically ceases  to belong to a political party or he becomes non partisan.

This is to avoid his political party interfering with government businesses. Is that not interesting? The president doesn’t appoint any minister in Germany, this again is to reduce presidential powers.

In short to be a president in Germany is the best thing as you’re not burden with much work to do, a Germany president in other ways is just ceremonial as much of the job is done by the bottom offices. Does it sound good?

Judiciary — In a federal  government the judiciary is divided into two as; Federal Judiciary and States judiciary. Names of these two might differ from one country to another as indicated earlier on Federal Government but functionality remains the same.

Federal judiciary –– This is the overseer of the law of the land. The supreme court is  an  example of this component, it mainly deals with National issues but it must be known that being the national component it doesn’t interfere in minor components which are based in states. There is no conflict as both have regulations hence we shouldn’t compromise.

We’ve watched American movies where we see law enforcement agency called Federal Bureau of Investigations abbreviated as FBI, in other countries they call it Federal Police or National  Police. This is the national law enforcement agency that deals with National law issues. It’s under department of justice. This agency is made up of national citizens. In a clear example, George Chaponda after stealing from national treasury this agency was responsible for his arrest which is abit similar to the one we have as it’s national but the difference is that Federal Police have well regulated policies making it more strong, more independent, more efficient and more professional. This agency is a no nonsense and has no time to entertain criminals. Do you feel secured? In America if you’re wanted by Fedral Police fashionably called Feds, my friend you’re in deep shit.

States judiciary –This is normally a small pact which operates within states, for example let’s say Mzimba is a state, this segment deals with state matters (though some may be national since the bottom line is justice but the volume of the crime speaks it) in the sense that under federal system states usually have what we call by-laws. These are laws that are valid in individual states only, these laws are very important because they safeguard the states interests, for instance Mzimba  state can legalise polygamy while  Lilongwe as a state doesnt recognise polygamy. To avoid cultural conflicts between Lilongwe and Mzimba  the states citizens are treated within their cultures. In another more clear example is, let’s take Eastern region which is dominated by Muslims, the Eastern  state may have by-laws that recognise their religion and beliefs, their school calendar may differ from ours (this I mean they can have their first term opening in July for instance while others open in September), recognise their own holidays and in short they’ll have laws that best suit them without being forced to follow Christian society beliefs or culture. This prevents cultural conflicts and marginalisation of other tribes culture . How cool is that?

Inorder for these different laws to be more effective we need states judiciary that understands that particular society.

In America for example, in California  and South Africa Chamba/Marijuana is legal hence utilising it isn’t a crime. This is what we call maximum utilisation of resources by states, in our case we all know that Nkhotakota and some parts of Mzimba in Mabilabo side there is the best Chamba the world has ever produced but we’re loosing billions by not legalising it just because our national law doesn’t allow. In federal system north and central are likely to prioritize legalisation of Chamba for economic benefits. On black market, Malawi chamba is selling at R50 000.00 which is equivalent to 2.5 Million Kwacha. Do you see what I see economically?

Legislature — We have two legislatures, in  brief we’ve a joint legislature or federal legislature that deals with national issues and states legislatures that deal with individual states issues. National legislature is responsible for making national laws, approving national budget, national appointees like IG, AG,  Head of Anti Corruption Bureau  and etcetra.

This legislature makes sure the president doesn’t abuse his powers. States legislatures are responsible for making by-laws, development proposals in their states, approving states appointees. This is the busiest one as it deals with issues on the ground.

This legislature may include  traditional leaders and faith leaders for instance to ensure effectiveness. This makes sure development is distributed equally within the states, resources are utilised desirably within the states, approve states business like borrowing money from financial lending institutions for various development programs like building schools, hospitals, roads and etcetera.

The duty of this house is now under president and cabinet in our unitary system which makes it hard for all regions to benefit equally from national budget because the president and cabinet aren’t familiar with problems the regions/states are facing.

This is why the president and cabinet after sitting down they thought that southern region must be given private stadias while may be agriculture sector is the most desired by the citizens.

This is a cancer in many countries that are using unitary system as people have no choice of development proposals but executive few.

The allocation of development projects is another issue, under unitary the executive decides that’s why we’ve all universities packed in the southern region instead of equally distributed. This house is very important more than what the executive is doing now. Do  you feel like being in a fedral system just now?

STATES GOVERNMENTS

States are remarked  using many criterias like

• Geographical locations

• Tribes

• Culture ( this includes region) and etcetera.

Looking at the above reasons it’s clear that Malawi is well positioned to adopt fedral system as we’re divided into to cultures, tribes and religions.

States are headed by governors, though names differ from one country to another for instance in south Africa we call them Premiers.

This is the highest office in the state and responsible for calling shots. This office is occupied by  indigenous state citizens, this eliminates incompetence,  unpatriotic and other isms, poor service delivery etc. I as from central region can’t be a governor in the south, I can’t be a DC in the north. This helps in serving delivery as the office bearers are familiar with states problems.

Here we’re guaranteed that the people put in office will deliver according to our expectations.

This is just to help you have a glimpse of how a fedral government looks like and what it does but technically there is alot to it some complicated but the bottom line is that federal system saves all citizens equally without any region or tribe monopolising national cake.

Say No to manipulation, say Yes to Federal System.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Wrong analysis, South Africa is not a federal state. Provinces of South Africa operate under the national laws and the provincial premiers are appointed by the president who holds executive powers, elected through provincial polls. The legalisation of Chamba in South Africa is not at provincial level only but was legalised in the National Assembly at national level. So if Malawi want to go that route they surely can do it even without a federal state – it can be done at national level. However, what the writer is failing to communicate is the duties of states in the federal government and how these people in these states are appointed or elected.

  2. Wrong analysis, South Africa is not a federal state. Provinces of South Africa operate under the national laws and the provincial premiers are appointments by the president who holds executive powers. The legalisation of Chamba in South Africa is not a provincial level is was legalised in the National Assembly – parliament. So if Malawi want to that route they surely don’t need to legalise it through federal state – it can be done at national level.

    • Wrong analysis, South Africa is not a federal state. Provinces of South Africa operate under the national laws and the provincial premiers are appointed by the president who holds executive powers, elected through provincial polls. The legalisation of Chamba in South Africa is not at provincial level only but was legalised in the National Assembly at national level. So if Malawi want to go that route they surely can do it even without a federal state – it can be done at national level. However, what the writer is failing to communicate is the duties of states in the federal government and how these people in these states are appointed or elected.

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