Ministry of Internal Affairs (Liberia)
The Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Nation’s oldest and largest institution, has seen significant reforms since its establishment in 1864, known then as the PARISH. The changes were manifested in all key areas, including its Mandate, Nomenclature and Structure.
In the first few decades of the young Republic, the territorial influence of government could be extended and felt only a few hundred kilometers in-land from the coast. Interaction with the rural masses was very limited. Therefore,the institution’s responsibility was, to Administer Local Governance which basically involved Collection of Taxes, Maintenance of Peace and Tranquility, and Seeking the Welfare of the People.
As the years passed and Liberia advanced in age, experience and international recognition, so also the scope and demands of Local Administration broadened andnecessitated fundamental changes with the times. Thus, the name of the governing entity was changed from the PARISH, first, to DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR (1927), then to MINISTRY OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND URBAN RECONSTRUCTION (1971), and again, to MINISTRY OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS (1982), the present name.
Along with the change of names also evolved the structure of the institution.Under the PARISH, was a single Department of Administration with Divisions and Sections to handle specific duties. Under the INTERIOR DEPARTMENT, special Sections such as Native and Tribal Affairs, and Native Appellate Court, were created to deal with tribal and cultural matters. Under MINISTRY OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND URBAN RECONSTRUCTION, The two large Departments of Rural Development and Urban Affairs were created; and finally under INTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTRY, the Rural Development Department was merged with the newly created Ministry of Rural Development at the time, now Ministry of Public Works, and the Department of Operation was created in its place.
The Ministry has since remained Internal Affairs, before and after the civil crisis, with four large Departs of Administration, Operation, Urban Affairs and Research and Development Planning, which comprise Divisions, Bureaus and Sections that carry out requisite activities.
In the early 1970’s when the two new Departments of Rural Development and Urban Affairs were created, the Ministry’s mandate took on a new dimension making it development oriented as it undertook development of rural communities, and urban centers throughout the country. In all 15 Counties, selection, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of projects have been a perennial process. Some of the projects are undertaken directly on government funding, while others are funded by development partners, such as: roads and bridges; local administrative buildings; commissioners’ residences; schools; clinics markets; peace huts; latrines; wells; etc.See more