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Part II The Relationship Between the Legislature and the Executive, 3 Parliamentary Sovereignty or Presidential Imperialism?: The Difficulties in Identifying the Source of Constitutional Power from the Interaction Between Legislatures and Executives in Anglophone Africa

Francois Venter

From: Separation of Powers in African Constitutionalism

Edited By: Charles M. Fombad

From: Oxford Constitutions (http://oxcon.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved.date: 27 January 2021

This chapter examines the constitutional relationships between the executive and the legislature in Anglophone Africa, focusing on Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, and South Africa. The independence of Anglophone Africa led to the establishment of constitutional institutions that were mostly based on the Westminster system, which hardly ever migrated well. The chapter shows that constitutional supremacy has displaced Westminster parliamentary supremacy, but the constitutions usually establish parliaments in the Westminster tradition as the central institutional check on the executive. In practice, however, parliamentary checks are rarely effective, which reveals conceptual uncertainties regarding the foundational source and appropriately balanced allocation of constitutional power. The difficulty lies therein that both the American and British examples from which respectively the presidential and parliamentary constructions of the constitutions are drawn, presuppose regular shifts in electoral outcomes based on political performance, whereas the African pattern tends towards long-term incumbency of dominant political groupings.

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