Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances.

This special document, regarded supreme, provides the means by which each of the three branches can resist the incursions of the others. Drawing from a rich background of theories from scholars regarding a systematic order of governance, the framers of the US constitution drew up this basic charter conferring sufficient institutional powers to govern. While aware of the power of the masses, the charter had in it inbuilt safeguards.1 As such, the document withheld the principle of abridging the liberties of the citizenry.&nbsp.Nevertheless, no one institution was to wield absolute power. Indeed as said by Madison,

“the truth is that all men having power ought to be mistrusted…Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe, there are more abridgement of the people by gradual and silent encroachment of those in power by violent and sudden usurpation…The accumulation of all powers. legislative, executive and judicial in the same hands, whether of one, few or many …..may just be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”2

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Referring to the works of Montesquieu, Madison alongside many other statesmen convincingly argued for the concept of separation of powers embedded with the safeguards of checks and balances within the three branches of government. The doctrine of separation of powers ingrained in the Constitution provides for the separation of government into three distinct branches. the legislative, executive, and the judicial branches. Each branch has unique responsibilities with functional separate powers. Despite the separation and functional autonomy, each branch was granted the capability to place limits on the powers exercised by the other two branches. In effect, no single agency was granted the power to exercise complete authority, thereby creating a system of interdependency. For purposes of clarity, separation of powers on one hand means that no one branch had the capacity to control the other two arms of government.

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