Monrovia – The former head of the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL), Dr. Amos Sawyer is shedding some light on a lingering issue which has been dogging the political career of former Vice President Joseph Boakai, regarding his dismissal from the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Company (LPRC).
Mr. Boakai, who is vying for the candidacy to head the ticket of the opposition Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), has always maintained his innocence over allegation of corruption when he served at the refinery as Managing Director during the NTGL era when Dr. Sawyer was head of state.
Speaking to OK FM this week, Dr. Sawyer who recently announced his retirement from active politics laid to rest the accusation and claims of corruption against the formal VP by taking responsibility the character assignations Boakai has faced over the years.
Said Dr. Sawyer: “Joe Boakai did not steal money. He was never accused of stealing money. We were in a government that was fictional, and the support of that government depended on the support we received from all the parties. One member of that government who was very influential wanted Joe Boakai removed from the position at LPRC and she engineered it because her son was in the petroleum business, and she harassed us until we made some changes which is unfortunate, and we take responsibility. So, that good man should not be maligned because of me.”
According to Dr. Sawyer, there is no record of the former vice president stealing and whatever happened was a political move in fictional government whose legitimacy depended on all support they could get from all the members of the transitional legislative assembly.
“Joe Boakai did not steal money. He was never accused of stealing money. We were in a government that was fictional, and the support of that government depended on the support we received from all the parties. One member of that government who was very influential wanted Joe Boakai removed from the position at LPRC and she engineered it because her son was in the petroleum business, and she harassed us until we made some changes which is unfortunate, and we take responsibility. So, that good man should not be maligned because of me.”– Dr. Amos C. Sawyer, Former Chair, National Transitional Government of Liberia
Dr. Sawyer’s exit from politics caps a stellar political career going back to the 1970s when he ran for Mayor against Francis Chu-Chu Horton.
A 1966 graduate of Liberia College, now the University of Liberia, Dr. Sawyer traveled to the United States for graduate work, earning an M.A. and Ph.D. degree in political science from Northwestern University in metropolitan Chicago, Illinois.
After his return, Dr. Sawyer worked as an academic, but also became an activist and politician. He ran for the position of Mayor of Monrovia, the capital, as an independent rather than within the ruling True Whig Party (TWP) which dominated the country for more than 100 years.
After the military coup d’etat on April 12, 1980, which brought Samuel K. Doe to power, Dr, Sawyer returned to academia for a time, taking a position as a professor of political science at the University of Liberia.
In December 1980, he was appointed Dean of the College of Social Sciences and acting director of the University. He was a founding member of the Movement of Justice in Africa (MOJA) and in 1983 he founded the Liberian People’s Party (LPP).
In 1992, Dr, Sawyer wrote The Emergence of Autocracy in Liberia: Tragedy and Challenge, in this book, he depicts how dictatorial control rose up out of a custom of patrimonial power, with the privileges of administration tirelessly brought together and amassed in the possession of progressive presidents.
This example of absolutism, which was not in itself oppressive, finished in the military tyranny.
Such leaders extended Dr. Sawyer’s one-year appointment for four years during the civil war fought against rebels led largely by Taylor, Johnson, and David Nimely.
In 1994, Dr. Sawyer was forced to step down as a part of the peace process, and subsequently the role of official leader of Liberia was held not by the president, but by the Chairmen of the Council of State.
Fighting sparked again in 1996 and continued during the Taylor presidency from 1997 to 2003.
Dr. Sawyer returned to the US for a period, invited to serve as Associate Director and Research Scholar, Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis in the Department of Political Science at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.
He is also the former Chairman of the Governance Commission.
Dr. Sawyer was regarded for playing a fatherly in mitigating and helping to amicably resolve issues, misunderstandings or crisis between the Sirleaf-led government and its political opponents, youth, student grouping and other pressure groups.