Amos Sawyer

Dr. Amos Claudius Sawyer
Source: Indiana University
President, Interim Government of National Unity (IGNU)
Term: November 1990 – May 1994

Amos Claudius Sawyer was born in Greenville, Sinoe County on June 15, 1945. His early education was through public schools in Maryland County. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in History and Government from the University of Liberia in 1966, a Masters of Arts in Political Science from Northwestern University in Illinois, USA in 1970 and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Northwestern in 1973.

Dr. Sawyer held many positions at the University of Liberia in the 1970’s and 1980’s including Assistant Professor of Political Science, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science and Dean of the College of Social Science & Humanities.

In 1980 when the People’s Redemption Council assumed leadership of Liberia, The constitution was suspended . From 1981 to 1983 Sawyer chaired Liberia’s National Constitutional Commission which was responsible for drafting a new constitution for the nation. That Commission created our current constitution which was adopted in 1986.

For the 1985 elections, Sawyer declined running as Doe’s Vice President. According to Kraaij, “… he was threatened, his house was burned and … his Liberian People’s Party (LPP), was accused of endangering the democratic process and subsequently banned from the presidential elections” (Kraaij). Sawyer then left the county and went into exile.

The Banjul Accord held by ECOWAS leaders in August 1990 selected Dr. Sawyer to head the Interim Government of National Unity (IGNU). This transitional government would administer the affairs of the nation in preparation of elections slated for October 1991. He therefore returned in 1990 to head the nation into a peaceful state. After numerous failed peace accords with the rebel factions, the IGNU was replaced by the Liberian National Transitional Government headed by David Kpomakpor in May 1994.

Sawyer has also held positions at Indiana University, the Consortium for Self-Governance in Africa and other entities. His current position as Chairman of the Governance Commission of Liberia focuses on government reform – finding flaws in government’s structure and policies and recommending remedies to a rectify such problems.

Due to failing health, Sawyer retired from politics in late 2021. On February 16, 2022, the former interim leader died at the John’s Hopkins Hospital in the USA.


A Conversation with Liberia’s Interim President. The Center for Strategic and International Studies. Washington, DC. 28 Oct. 1991. Web. 09 Oct. 2013.

Amos C. Sawyer, Ph.D. Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis. Indiana University. Aug. 2007. Web. 09 Sep. 2013.

Amos Sawyer – Chairman, Governance Commission, Liberia. Innovations for Successful Societies. Bobst Center for Peace and Justice. Princeton University. 16 Jul. 2009. Web. 04 Dec. 2013.

Liberia. Global Connections. PBS. Web.

Van Der Kraaij, Fred. President Samuel K. Doe. Liberia Past and Present. Web. 04 Dec. 2013.

Last updated: February 20, 2022

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