Government 2, May/June 2015

Question 2

(a)  What is separation of powers?

(b)  How does it operate under the:

(i)   Presidential System of government.
(ii)   Cabinet System of government.


This was another popular question and was attempted by almost all the candidates.   The performance of the candidates who answered it was good as they really understood its demands. However, some candidates did not do well in the (b) part and they scored low marks by listing the points without further explanations. The candidates were expected to provide the following answers to the question:


(a)        (i)         It implies that the three organs of government; the legislature, the
executive and the judiciary are separated in personnel and functions.
This means that no one person or organ of government should combine
the legislative, executive and judicial functions of government.

                        Its operation in presidential system of government:

(b)(i)    (i) In Presidential system of government, the legislature makes laws, the executive applies the law, the judiciary interprets laws.
(ii)   None of the three organs of government should usurp the powers or interfere in the workings of other two organs.
(iii) No one person or organ of government to combine the legislative executive and judicial functions or powers.

                        The operation of separation of powers in Cabinet System of government:

(b)(ii) (i)  There is no strict separation of powers in a cabinet system of government.
(ii) Individuals can operate in two or more organs of government.
(iii) There is fusion of powers in the discharge of responsibilities.
(iv)  Members of cabinet are also part of the legislature.
(v) In Britain, the Lord Chancellor who is the head of the judicial arm of government is also a member of the legislature and the executive.