Frequent calls by women groups and international organizations including the United Nations for women’s participation in politics are gaining traction; however, it is also left with a woman to show her political juice in an election to see how she can win the minds of the voters. Ahead of December 8, 2020, Special Mid-Term Senatorial election, Madam Cecelia Siaway-Teah, another female, after Siah J. Tandapolie and Jemima Wollokollie, has broken the silence and declared her intention to face her tough-talking male counterparts. And she has her sights set on the most hotly contested seat in the senatorial race — Montserrado County.
Madam Teah is the head of ‘Women Movement in Liberia (WOMIL),’ a civil society organization with huge women based support that has championed over the years women’s and girl’s issues.
Although she did not call names, she told journalists at a brief press conference in Paynesville recently that she has received many calls from women groups and well wishers, including men, to contest the upcoming Senate election.
“We did not come here to give any evidence of petition ceremonies,” Madam Siaway Teah stated. The sincerity of those who assemble at those petition ceremonies is another thing. I am very confident of the support I have. I trust my foot soldiers and December 8, we will not be cowards or under-dog politicians,” she said.
According to her, men try to do all they can to dominate national leadership, but it should be clearly known that women have learned a lot about Liberia and in particular their respective constituencies.
“We have been in the advocacy terrain for so long. We understand the issues and are very confident of ourselves. We have the requisite qualifications and can deliver on a mandate if the will of our people says we should lead them at the Senate,” she emphasized.
Teah noted that, as a campaigner for more women’s participation in the body politics of Liberia, she has come to realize that being outside of the circle will not help except she and women of like minds work hard to demonstrate that they are worth the values like any other politician.
“I am coming into this race to change the status quo. It is about the bitter politics. There is too much hate and we women are the better suited people to calm down conflict. We did it here in 2003 and our actions led to the Accra Comprehensive Peace Accord.
“In Ghana, we were firm. We wanted change and we stood as mothers, sisters and wives to defend and protect the future of the generations to follow. This what led us to where we are. We are women, but we have so much in us that we can offer to make a change,” she said.
About the insincerity of some women and their lack of commitment to their campaign promises, Madam Teah said human life is the most complex thing to know but continuously making efforts by bringing onboard new faces of women help change the dynamics.
“My campaign will not be that I should be given power because I am a woman. No. That is not my message. My message is that, with my records in civil society movements and my return home to stay here and run my businesses, through which my fellow Liberians get their daily bread, it will be good to vote me in order to be afforded a bigger platform and do better than what I am doing now,” she said.
Teah added: “Rape is on the increase because not too many women have the decision making power to influence the legal system in a positive direction. When there are more women legislators, they will make ideas to curtail or eliminate rape and other forms of gender-based violence.”
When quizzed about incumbent Senator Darius Dillon’s popularity and affection he has gained from lots of voters, we well as Rep. Thomas Fallah’s own political base and access to cash to influence voters, Teah said she is not intimidated by anything and her campaign will not be against fellow candidates but against ideas that have led to Montserrado not to have gained much in development.
“I don’t have enemies. My fellow contestants have the same Constitutional right as I do, but one thing that I want to bring to the platform is that politics should not lead to chaos, death or destruction of properties. Our messages should sell us to the electorates, not our muscles,” Teah stressed.
She further said that Montserrado District #5 Representative, Thomas Pangar Fallah, did not win election in 2005 because he had money or many people knew him, but his messages he carried around swayed the minds of the people and they voted him and again gave the same opportunity on two subsequent occasions.
“He was a plank seller. Known very little by then, but he was confident. Not to praise him, but I say this to mean that I am very confident in myself and I have the optimism that I can be sold and bought by many voters. I will surprise many by winning Montserrado because I know I’m the best alternative now,” she said with confidence.
She said whether or not she will contest on the ticket of a political party will be determined at a later date but, one thing she is confident of is that, she will be on the ballot on December 8.