The structure of government notes

The Structure of Government

  • Meaning of central government
  • Types of governments
  • Meaning of tribunals
  • Meaning of inquiries

A government Refers to the way of ruling, administering and controlling people. A government can also be defined as;

A political organization, structure and authority.

A central government is the government that is a controlling power over a unitary state. Another type of distinct but sovereign political entity is a federal government, which may have distinct powers at various levels of government, authorized or delegated to it by the federation and mutually agreed upon by each of the federated states. Though inappropriate, the adjective “central” is also sometimes used to describe the government of a federation.

The structure of central governments vary. Many countries have created autonomous regions by delegating powers from the central government to governments on sub-national level, such as regional, state, provincial, local and other instances. Based on a broad definition of a basic political system, there are two or more levels of government that exist within an established territory and government through common institutions with overlapping or shared powers as prescribed by a constitution or other law.





Democracy is a form of government that allows the people to choose leadership. The primary goal is to govern through fair representation and prevent abuses of power. The result is a system that requires discourse, debate, and compromise to satisfy the broadest possible number of public interests, leading to majority rule. Democracies advocate for fair and free elections, civic participation, human rights protections, and law and order.


Communism is a centralized form of government led by a single party that is often authoritarian in its rule. Inspired by German philosopher Karl Marx, communist states replace private property and a profit-based economy with public ownership and communal control of economic production, such as labor, capital goods, and natural resources. Citizens are part of a classless society that distributes goods and services as needed.


Socialism is a system that encourages cooperation rather than competition among citizens. Citizens communally own the means of production and distribution of goods and services, while a centralized government manages it. Each person benefits from and contributes to the system according to their needs and ability.


Oligarchies are governments in which a collection of individuals rules over a nation. A specific set of qualities, such as wealth, heredity, and race, are used to give a small group of people power. Oligarchies often have authoritative rulers and an absence of democratic practices or individual rights.


Aristocracy refers to a government form in which a small, elite ruling class — the aristocrats — have power over those in lower socioeconomic strata. Members of the aristocracy are usually chosen based on their education, upbringing, and genetic or family history. Aristocracies often connect wealth and ethnicity with both the ability and right to rule.


Monarchy is a power system that appoints a person as head of state for life or until abdication. Authority traditionally passes down through a succession line related to one’s bloodline and birth order within the ruling royal family, often limited by gender. There are two types of monarchies: constitutional and absolute. Constitutional monarchies limit the monarch’s power as outlined in a constitution, while absolute monarchies give a monarch unlimited power.


Theocracy refers to a form of government in which a specific religious ideology determines the leadership, laws, and customs. In many instances, there is little to no distinction between scriptural laws and legal codes. Likewise, religious clergy will typically occupy leadership roles, sometimes including the highest office in the nation.


Colonialism is a form of government in which a nation extends its sovereignty over other territories. In other words, it involves the expansion of a nation’s rule beyond its borders. Colonialism often leads to ruling over indigenous populations and exploiting resources. The colonizer typically installs its economy, culture, religious order, and government form to strengthen its authority.


Totalitarianism is an authoritarian form of government in which the ruling party recognizes no limitations whatsoever on its power, including in its citizens’ lives or rights. A single figure often holds power and maintains authority through widespread surveillance, control over mass media, intimidating demonstrations of paramilitary or police power, and suppression of protest, activism, or political opposition.

Military Dictatorship

A military dictatorship is a nation ruled by a single authority with absolute power and no democratic process. The head of state typically comes to power in a time of upheavals, such as high unemployment rates or civil unrest. They usually lead the nation’s armed forces, using it to establish their brand of law and order and suppress the people’s rights. Dictators dismiss due process, civil liberties, or political freedoms. Dissent or political opposition can be dangerous or even deadly for the country’s citizens.


Tribunals are bodies established by Acts of Parliament to exercise judicial or quasi-judicial functions. They supplement ordinary courts in the administration of justice. Tribunals, however, do not have penal jurisdiction. Tribunals, like the courts, have to respect the Bill of Rights in their decisions and not be repugnant to justice and morality or be inconsistent with the Constitution or other laws of the land. Most tribunals are subject to the supervision of the High Court.



  • Political Parties Disputes Tribunal – PPDT.
  • The National Environment Tribunal.
  • Sports Disputes Tribunal.
  • Cooperative Tribunal.
  • Auctioneers Licensing Board.
  • Water Appeals Board.
  • HIV and AIDS Tribunal.
  • Public Private Partnership Petition Committee.


Commissions of inquiry have been defined as ad hoc advisory bodies set up by the government to obtain information. In their working they are expected to make an assessment of the facts and later recommendations to the government in power. The government can accept or ignore the recommendations

The purpose of this audit is six fold:

  1. To assess the public interest arguments that have been used to justify establishing commissions of inquiry;
  2. To determine how effective commissions of inquiries have been in answering the issues before them and making implement able recommendations;
  3. To audit the extent to which government has implemented recommendations made by commissions, task forces and probes;
  4. To determine the scale of public investments in such probes and commissions and provide information which would allow conclusions as to the value for money of such investments.
  5. To identify accountability gaps and recommend ways of closing them
  6. Using examples from Common wealth to propose ways of designing reform probes, commissions and task forces for the future. These proposals should also make recommendations as to the sort of objectives, which such commissions of inquiry can reasonably be expected to fulfill.



The primary function of all commissions of inquiry is to inform governments. Commissions of inquiry have been classified into two groups, based on the methods used to ascertain the facts.

The first category of commissions are those charged with gathering information which is to be used for policy formulation or review, or the assessment of the functionality of a public entity. These are referred to as investigatory inquiries. These types of commissions play the same function as a researcher.

Examples include the Davy Koech Commission, which investigated the question of the appropriateness of Kenya’s education system.

The second category of commissions is those charged with ascertaining the facts of a particular issue. Their role has been equated with that of an inquisitor and they are referred to as inquisitorial inquiries. This category of inquiry usually investigates the facts surrounding a scandal or allegations of wrongdoing.

The Miller inquiry, which investigated allegations of wrongdoing against former Attorney General Charles Njonjo, is a good example of this type of inquiry. While both types of commission will ultimately “inform” their methods will most likely be different.

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