Which Of The Organs Of Government Actually Has The Last Word?

The three organs of government were the creations of imagination by Baron Montesquieu. He was an 18th-century French philosopher who coined the term “separation of powers” or “trias politica” to describe a model of government that divides the political authority into legislative, executive, and judicial branches.

He argued that this system would promote liberty by limiting any one branch from exercising the core functions of another and by establishing a system of checks and balances. He was inspired by the English Constitution and influenced the U.S. Constitution. He did not believe in a centralized power or a single ruler.

The executive arm of States is concerned primarily with the administration of the state. It ensures that the laws made by the legislature are properly executed by its members. The executive arm is headed by the President of the state. It is made up of the Police, the Armed Forces, and different ministries and parastatals.

President Akufo Addo of Ghana

The legislature or parliament is the branch of government that has the power or function of making laws. It also levies and collects taxes, and makes financial appropriations. The legislative branch works with other branches of government, such as the executive and the judiciary to balance the power and protect the liberties of people in given jurisdictions.

The judiciary is the system of courts that adjudicates legal disputes and disagreements. It also interprets, defends, and applies the law in legal cases. The domain of judges and lawyers.

The media is described as the Fourth Estate of the Realm. They strengthen societies through the role of exposing injustices and educating people about their rights. It helps shape public opinion by providing a platform for the airing of views.

Let’s examine their powers relative to which of them have the ultimate word.

A parliament might make laws, for example, stipulate the death penalty for certain crimes. Based on the law, the executive arm applies agencies under its watch to enforce the law. It takes steps to hold persons and organizations which breach the law to order. It processes them for court where the judiciary interprets the law.

A court may pass a death sentence but the executive represented by the President could mitigate the sentence and this is permitted by law. The law that permits the President to vary a death sentence by the court was passed by the legislature which instituted the penalty. In this case, the law in some jurisdictions allows parole by the executive as the last word.

In politically-charged situations, that look tainted by prejudices and biases, some of the organs appear hijacked especially by the executive for determinations to suit its cause. When a political party has a parliamentary majority, it gets its way in terms of the laws that must be passed on the basis of a majority vote.  Ultimately, the judiciary passes the verdict in all cases and judges have the security of tenure of office but it is the President representing the executive who makes the most important appointments to the judiciary.

A miscalculation by the executive that results in a war between states makes all the victims of circumstances but that could be curtailed by survivors of the confusion if Parliament scraps the powers of the President, and indeed it has the power to put curbs on all actors in the polity. But then, bills that are processed in Parliament must have the president appending his or her signature before becoming laws. A president can drag his or her feet if the bill is unfavorable.

As constitutions vary from country to country, in some instances, parliament passes no vote of confidence in Prime Ministers to remove them and sweep their actions aside. Sometimes the president dissolves parliament, per the prescriptions of the country’s constitution, and Ecuador is the very latest example of this occurrence. When cases are brought before the courts, the courts may have other ideas expressed by their voting patterns.

A recent statement by former President John Mahama to allow persons with dual citizenship not to be outlawed but to fully participate in national affairs can only materialize if his party becomes the majority in parliament to amend the law.

Based on existing laws, the Supreme Court adjudged the Member of Parliament for Assin North, James Quayson to be out of step with the law for holding dual citizenship, thus the latter is evicted by the court’s decision.

When issues about LGBTQ came up in the wake of the visit to Ghana by the US Vice President, Kamala Harris, the Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, Alban Bagin who thought President Akufo Addo was soft and ambivalent on the issue, robustly indicated that what the executive does will end up with parliament where he the Speaker presides.

The media by their role can stir civil action, and outcomes that are fluid but it is important to note that ultimate power resides with the people in whom popular sovereignty lies. In the court of public opinion, the 1992 constitution grants the president too many powers, and some actors have called for a review of that authority.


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