NAS South Sudan Understanding Types & Forms of Government


Understanding Forms and Types of Government

Unitary Government

The oldest form of territorial government – managing the entire nation from the the center
General Definition: A unitary state is a state governed as a single power in which the central government is ultimately supreme and any administrative divisions (sub-national units) exercise only the powers that the central government chooses to delegate. The majority of states in the world have a unitary system of government. Of the 193 UN member states, 165 are governed as unitary states.

Conferederal Government

Two or more independent nations come together on agreed terms of power sharing between the new union government and its constituent states – extremely difficult for a formerly Unitary Government to simply break up into confederations. On the contrary Confederations are likely to break up into separate nation-states.
The choice of Confederal arrangement would, at this stage, spell the end of the South Sudanese national experiment – to have the same problems repeated at the new Confederal States (an unnecessary burden on present and future generations! The problems South Sudan faces are NOT ethnic by nature, they are problems associated with failures to abide by the Law! Rule of Law! Institutional Failures!)

General Definition:

A confederation (also known as a confederacy or league) is a union of sovereign states, united for purposes of common action often in relation to other states. Usually created by a treaty, confederations of states tend to be established for dealing with critical issues, such as defense, foreign relations, internal trade or currency, with the general government being required to provide support for all its members. Confederalism represents a main form of inter-governmentalism, this being defined as ‘any form of interaction between states which takes place on the basis of sovereign independence or government.

Government by Geography

Federal Government

One nation-state breaking up (for various convenient reasons) by constitutional arrangement, into two or more constituent sub-states, in turn governed by their own constitutions (constituent states go by several types of names: states (USA, South Sudan, India), Provinces (Canada), Counties (Kenya), Regions (Ethiopia)
Contrary to the distraction that there are many types of federations – the essential character should not be forgotten: one national government along two or more constituent sub-governments going by any of the different names!


A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity characterized by a union of partially self-governing states or regions under a central (federal) government. In a federation, the self-governing status of the component states, as well as the division of power between them and the central government, is typically constitutionally entrenched and may not be altered by a unilateral decision of either party, the states or the federal political body. Alternatively, federation is a form of government in which sovereign power is formally divided between a central authority and a number of constituent regions so that each region retains some degree of control over its internal affairs.

The Federalism with the 10 States (open to modification due to problem areas):

  • The best opportunity for self-governance at the state and local level (managing our own affairs is yet a challenge, due to the perennial “Big Government”)
  • Each state has both economic and cultural attributes, which, if left alone, would see the state develop industries and Services that the national government is neither desposed to, nor able to exploit or provide (e.g. Cement in East, iron in the West, Ariculture, tourism, animal husbandry, and fisheries in different pockets of the nation – these should be nurtured at the local level – while the National Federal Government pays greater attention to other undertakings more fitting for a national government.)

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