When I was attending my Junior Non Commissioned Officers’ course from which I graduated as a Lance Corporal, they gave us Civics lessons which included a Doze Of Political Economy, DOPE, hence you will hear Mr Barigye rightly stating that Otto is on dope.
They taught us about systems of government and forms of government. The two systems highlighted were unitarism and federalism. They told us about the seven demerits of federalism and I list them here below for us to debate, if indeed we have the nerve:
1.It creates a deficient authority over component states and individual citizens especially in new states of the 3rd world where the process of nation building and state making is in its early stages.
2.It creates liability to dissolution by the seccession or rebellion of states especially when the core of the federation is an entity that enjoyed independent and hegemonic existence prior to the federation.
3.It creates liability to division into groups and factions by the formation of separate combinations of component states
4.It causes absence of the power of legislation on certain subjects where uniform legislation for the whole state is needed
5.It makes want of uniformity among the states in legislation and administration
6.It leads to trouble, expenses, and delay due to complexity of a double system of legislation and administration.
7.It weakens foreign policy
The Tanzanian military instructor (S/Sgt Mwaipopo he was called) also told us that, whenever you see one subnational unit out of several, singly and persistently and at times cantankerously pressing for autonomy while other subunits are not interested, then what you are dealing with is not federalism, but rather, the toxin called separatism or the early stages of secessionism. That staff Sergeant told us that the doctrine of nationbuilding and statemaking stipulates that, in such cases of suspect separatism, an NCO’s reflex response is to cork his rifle immediately!
He also added that, in the basic principles of political practice, federation happens through the path of separate state entities agreeing to come together and have some of their affairs managed by a central authority. That is to say, the central government is created by the constituent members through the act of federation. Individual political units do not beg/pester/nag/harangue/hector/armtwist/blackmail the central government to give them the federal status. The Staff Segeant told us that, asking for ‘federo’ turns logic on its head and that it is the central authority that is supposed to be at the mercy of the federal states and not the other way round!
I still believe him.
Also allow me to give you the merits of unitarism……..as I got them from S/Sgt Mwaipopo.
1.It is a very effective and efficient form of government. The central government is all-powerful, and as such, it can take any step to meet the situation before it and is particularly effective in new countries that are still lacking in socio-political integration between groups and regions, i.e., countries that are very low on the scale of nation building and state-making.
2.It proves very successful in dealing with the conditions of emergency.
3.It is a flexible government. The constitution can be amended easily (yes!) by the central government according to the exigencies of the situation. It may delegate some of its powers to local units, or take them back without any difficulty (yes!) in the light of the obtaining circumstances.
4.It brings uniformity of administration and legislation. Since there is only one national legislature and since all powers are vested in the central government, there is uniformity in the spheres of law making and its implementation.
5.It is less expensive as compared to a federal system because there is no duality in the field of legislation, administration and adjudication. In other words, there is no duplication of work at the regional levels.