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Introduction

In the modern society governments have enormous task of managing and monitoring the political
and social economic aspects of the citizens of a country at all levels. As a result, governments
find it easy to divide the administration into central and local government so that service delivery
can be improved. Central government is defined by Wikipedia as a government of a nation-state
and is more typically a characteristic of a unitary state while the Business dictionary defines
local government as an administrative body for small geographic areas such as a city. Looking
at the jurisdiction of central and local government from the definitions of the two given here, it is
clearly seen that though both are involved in administration, central government deals with
national level issues that have a wider scope incorporating all citizens of that country while the
local government is a supporting pillar of the central government at lower levels of society such
as a municipal region.
Although central government administrative powers are strategic in nature and affect all citizens
of the country, the primary objective of having local government is to decentralize the powers of
central government in order to facilitate efficient delivery of services and encourage
accountability and transparence at lower levels of society which brings a direct benefit to the
citizens of a country especially the poor. This brings in an inclusive society and eradicates any
forms of exclusion to citizens. In short terms, a local government is designed to bring the
government closer to the people.
The purpose of this assignment is to compare and contrast the characteristics of central and local
government and also look at the qualities of good citizenship and the factors hindering good
citizenship.
Similarities of central and local governments
There are a number of similarities between central government and local government in the sense
that both are involved in planning, organizing, coordinating and controlling the affairs of the
country although at different levels.
Local governments are a creation of central government. The local governments are controlled
by central government through the Ministry of Local Government. Both central and local
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governments are involved in planning. Planning is a future oriented activity which is aimed at
making decisions today which will affect the operations of a company tomorrow. According to
Peter Drucker (1973), planning is a continuous process of making present entrepreneurial
decisions systematically and with best possible knowledge of their futurity, organizing
systematically the efforts needed to carry out these decisions and measuring the results of these
decisions against the expectations through organized feedback . Central government approves
schemes and plans of development for councils. Central government looks at the national level
by solving external issues involving other countries while at the same time deciding on internal
issues affecting the citizens which are implemented by local government. Local government
implement plans of central government and also plan locally for a municipal and works within
those boundaries ensuring that citizens in particular areas of the country are well taken care of.
The second point is to do with organizing. Organizing involves the formation of formal
structures of authority and the direction and flow of such authority through which work subdivisions are defined, arranged and coordinated so that each part relates to the other in a united
and coherent manner so as to attain the prescribed objectives (Gary, 1988). Therefore organizing
becomes a fundamental component of both central and local government in the sense that
grouping and assigning tasks follow a systematic order which has lines of command ensuring
that everything happens smoothly. Central government has the parliament where cabinet
ministers and members of parliament sit to debate on issues pertaining to the development of the
nation. These individuals have different roles to play such that in the end their programs affect all
citizens. The local government on the other hand, has a council where the mayor (a political
figure) and the town clerk or council secretary are senior executives who are in charge of
municipal affairs. Councilors and council directors are involved in implementing policies at
lower levels of this system.
The third point is controlling which involves establishing standards that must be followed to
ensure that the activities do not deviate from the pre-arranged plans. Central government can also
use its administrative powers to control the councils. Councils receive guidelines from
government or ministerial officers resident in the council area. Central government may come up
with a plan of constructing a main road passing through several cities. This plan though set at a
higher level may involve a lot of local government institutions on implementation. The central
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government will set up performance measures to be followed making sure no deviating from
these performance measures. In a similar way, local governments will set their own standards to
make sure that their objectives are met.
Differences between central and local government
Although central government and local government have a lot of similarities as discussed in the
previous section, there are also a number of differences that can be noted. To start with central
government is a national face of a country or state where as local government in contrast is a
lower organ of governance responsible of activities of governance usually restricted only to a
particular region. This means that what central government decides and implements has a
national bearing as compared to local government.
Secondly, central government is responsible of issues to do with national security, international
affairs and economic decisions which are totally at a high level where as local government is
only assigned to solve issues domestically specific to a particular town or district. This shows
that if an issue involving another nation had to arise requiring doing activities in a certain town
or district, the case would be handled by central government first and later handed over to local
government responsible of the particular region after central government ensures that all
protocols and procedures relating to the issue are properly scrutinized.
Thirdly, central government makes policies while local government carries on the policies and
makes sure they are implemented according to central government requirements. It is therefore
correct to state that central government is responsible of formulating nationwide policies and
laws that impact the well-being of every citizen in that country while local government is a tool
used by central government to achieve national objectives at lower levels. In addition to that,
local government works within the framework of central government and follows legislations
and decisions that are made by central government.

Qualities of good citizenship


A citizen is a member of a country. Each country has laws and regulations that all citizens follow.
Those laws are aimed at ensuring that all people live in harmony with each other and develop
together. However there are others who violet those laws and end up being termed as bad
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citizens. This section of the assignment discusses the qualities of a good citizen and factors that
hinder good citizenship.
Qualities of a good citizen refer to the good acts that each citizen must possess in order to
enhance unit and development in their country. For the sake of this assignment, the qualities of a
good citizen will be grouped into two categories namely; national development and civically
active.
(a) National development
A good citizen is a person who works hard to develop the nation in which they live. When a
person works hard to develop the nation or community in which they live, they provide services
to their neighbours and relatives and this in the end enables them to earn money. In working
hard, good citizens also create jobs in their communities which make them hire fellow citizens to
do work and enable them get a wage in the end. Qualities of working hard and creation jobs help
contribute to the development of a stronger economy in the country.
Secondly, a good citizen is one with empathy which is having concern or compassion for the
well-being of others especially the vulnerable in society. This can be sharing their good fortune
back to the community in which they live. A good fortune could be extra time, money or items
that could help others in the same community. Sharing time could be volunteering in certain
community work such as cleaning houses of the less privileged such as Old Peoples Home in the
Maramba or educating youths on certain dangerous behavioral acts such as prostitution. This
voluntary work can go a long way in the sense that someone will benefit from that at the end of
the day. In addition to sharing time, a good citizen can offer cash or items to the less privileged
people. There are many people needing help in terms of money or material items in our
communities. We see the blind, old and poor moving round begging for alms and very few
people give them any kind of attention.
Thirdly, a good citizen is one who exercises self-control by restraining oneself from doing bad
things. This means avoiding dangerous acts, staying health and helping others to do so as well.
Taking care of your body and keeping health enables someone to be active in the community.
Some people get infected especially with HIV/AIDS and feel they should not die alone. They go
out and infect others with the HIV virus in the pretext that they should die many. This act is
totally bad and is not a quality of good citizenship.
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Furthermore, a good citizen is one who exercises patriotism by having a sense of love and
loyalty to the state by observing the values and principles of ones country. This can done
through reading newspapers and staying up to date with current affairs making one get fully
informed on issues that affect societies in many areas. Listening to discussions especially politics
from different parties and being impartial on views of others makes one be recognized and
respected by fellow citizens. Most issues discussed are complex and go beyond the lines of one
political party therefore having a national view on such matters gives a good contribution. In
addition to politics, a good citizen should be involved in the planning process especially the
construction of new supermarkets, stores and housing estates.
Perseverance is another quality of good citizenship. Citizens must be willing to attempt several
times in order to accomplish worthwhile goals in society. This is seen in politics where
individuals keep trying to win an election until they get it. For this reason it should not be only
politicians trying by everyone in any capacity until a desired goal is achieved.
(b) Civically active
A good citizen must be living up to democratic principles by participating in the affairs of a state
such as choosing leaders of the country. The common method of choosing leaders in Zambia is
through voting in an election. Voting is an important exercise which every citizen of a country
should be involved in. Running a country is so involving that if left in wrong hands would cause
a lot of damage to the nation. For this reason, it is a duty of every good citizen to participate in
local, parliamentary, presidential and any by-election that takes place to ensure that good leaders
are elected.
The second point of a good citizen must is courageousness and being able to monitor issues that
matter a lot in the country and advise the powers that may be in any way possible. As long as
what those in power or public offices do actions which hinder development to the country, it is
the duty of a good citizen whether too young to vote, did not vote for those in power or never
participated in an election to advise them.
In addition to the two points above, a good citizen needs to have a conscience to perform duty
and service in a devoted manner. Having a good conscience allows someone to perform his or
her duties honestly and diligently. A good citizen should contribute to national development by
being responsible and working hard if given public duty in any capacity. Teachers, nurses,
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doctors, police officers, et cetera perform public duties which in most cases involve a laissez
faire kind of management. These duties require good citizens who are able to remind themselves
that such duties are meant to serve the majority poor citizens.
Finally, a good citizen is one who respects the law. Respecting the law means abiding and
following the laws of the land even when someone is not in total agreement. It is the willingness
to work through peaceful and legal means to change unjust laws.
Factors hindering good citizenship
Despite the acts of good citizenship being helpful to society as seen in the previous section, there
are a number of factors that hinder good citizenship.
To start with many people are ignorant or low education which causes many to fail to
comprehend the factors required in developing the nation. When they hear anything to do with
developing something for the common good of all people they fail to understand that such
actions are good to society. Others do not have creative ideas because they are not exposed to
information.
Secondly, print media has also taken advantage of peoples ignorance and has brought in serious
twist and misinformation to the public to an extent that citizens are not able assess issues
knowledgeably and correctly. There are so many news media today such as newspapers, radios,
television and internet.
Thirdly, there is so much poverty in our societies such that people fail to consider anything that is
for the public. They only consider their own needs and feel providing charitable work is a share
waste of time. They fail to realize that any little work done towards developing a community
creates a platform of change which in one way or the other would benefit them.
Politics especially although in the name of democracy have destroyed morals of many people.
Individuals put so much allegiance to political parties above national interests. This makes them
blind to see real issues and they end up following ideologies of their parties even when they have
perverted agendas. In addition to this point the electoral systems have defects which cause those
in power to violet electoral procedures for them to retain power at all costs. It has become a norm
to cheat people during campaign times just to win a vote. People sink so low that they would do
anything during that period just to voted. We see politicians going to church during campaigns

just to be seen that they also know God. We also see others telling masses that they would do
numerous things which they fail to do when they are in power. Others use people to get into
government and later refuse to leave those positions as they take it as a mode of survival. Such
acts hinder good citizenship.
A significant point to be mentioned here also is that lack of consciousness or indifference has
caused a lot of damage to countries. Government offices become places for bribes and theft
which has caused the poor majority who cannot afford a bribe be left out. The president of
Zambia recently issued a statement that government was full of nepotism which prevented other
eligible Zambians from taking part and assured that he would work the problem out. All these
acts hinder good citizenship. In addition to this point, self-centeredness and self-interest cause
individuals to avoid public responsibilities and ignore the general welfare of their society.
Lastly, modern societies have become complex in nature in such a way that citizens are involved
in many activities which becomes difficulty to harmonize interests of ones citizen with those of
another. We see a number of religions with different practices having large followings and some
of these teach people topics that are against national interests.
Summary
Central and local government despite having differences in levels of operation, they work hand
in hand. Central government is the policy maker while local government is the policy
implementer at lower levels of society. This helps in ensuring that everyone in the country is
involved in the governance and running of the country in one way or the other. In addition to
that, the citizens of the country need to work hard in a number of ways to ensure that their
country is developed. Good citizens find time to develop their country in one way or the other.
Despite that, there are notable hindrances to good citizenship such as lack of education, poverty,
politics and corruption etc.

References
Business Dictionary, n.d. Local Government. [Online]
Available at: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/local_government html
[Accessed 22 June 2015].
Drucker, P., 1973. Management Tasks and responsibility. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Gary, J., 1988. Organization Behaviour: Understanding Life at Work. New York: Scott Foresman
and Company.
Herzer, H. & Pirez, P., 1991. Municipal Government and Popular Participation. Environment,
April.Volume 3(No. 1).
Ricci, D. M., 2004. Good citizenship in America. Cambridge: Cambrdge University Press.
Wikipedia, n.d. Central Government. [Online]
Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/central_government
[Accessed 22 June 2015].
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