Sawyer Wants Revolution of Authority in Liberia

By Sidiki Trawally

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

November 25, 2003

The former interim president of Liberia says there is a need for a revolution of constitutional authority that will provide opportunities for people to serve, thereby decongesting the Monrovia power-access, which is centralized in the presidency. "Let there be a kind of revolution of authority," Dr. Amos C. Sawyer urged.

Addressing the Inaugural Ball hosted by the Liberian Association of Pennsylvania (LAP), Inc. at the Twentieth Century Club in Landsdowne, Saturday, Sawyer said Liberians must think about reforming the system of government instead of rushing into early elections. "Let's think about this as to how we can step back for a while and leave the whole thing about rushing us into elections and finding this good president."

He said Liberians need developmental thrust and that the need for revolution of constitutional authority is very significant in the reformation process. "It will help us decongest the Monrovia power access and allow us find other center of power that will make us unleash our human potentials."

Sawyer said already 23 candidates have declared their intentions to run for president. "Many of them are very good people, but why it is that only in the position of president that we feel we can provide service?" He said the presidency is the only position with real power in the country. "The Liberian president appoints every officials directly or indirectly."

Sawyer said the presidency manipulates powers, adding, "There is no one who wants to be a president wants to be a superintendent of a county, because there is no power at that level." He reiterated the need for some serious reform of the system of government for constitutional authority to be decentralized. He warned: "If we don't do that, in another five years, the storm will be gathering again."

Meanwhile, the former president of the Interim Government of National Unity (IGNU) from 1990-1994 has repeated his call for Liberians to unite. He stressed that no matter how close any group of Liberians "is to the Americans or the Nigerians, or whatever, it is not going to help us unless we deal with each other sincerely with profound sense of trying to solve the problems."

Sawyer said there is no substitute for engaging each other in a sober profound dialogue for "other people to take us seriously." He said Liberians have spent so much time in search for a good leader, adding, "we should now back up a bit and ask ourselves, why is it we always looking for a good leader? Why are we not talking about taking responsibility for ourselves?"

According to the Liberian scholar, the international community failed to pay more attention to Liberians' plight during the 15 years of civil war in the country. He said the international community, including the United States, did almost nothing to rescue Liberia. "Our lives did not make any difference to them."

"It did not mater how often we killed ourselves, the international community didn't come to us. When did the international community turn its eyes on Liberia? It was when the United Nations in its findings said our president (Charles G. Taylor) was engaged in criminal activities in Sierra Leone. Think about the implication of this!"

Sawyer urged Liberians to use the opportunity given them by the attention the international community is paying to Liberia to settle their differences, adding, "we better take in that seriously and come to our senses while the stabilization force is in our country, because if we miss this opportunity, we're not likely to get it again."