TSM: Welcome to this interview Madam Grace Scotland Briamah, you just contested the Senatorial race, are you the first female to contest for the senatorial position in Sinoe?
Answer: Yes, I am the first female candidate.
TSM: What inspired you to the contest?
Answer: “The first thing was that the women after working with them for so long, and the lack of women in the house of representative and Senate from Sinoe, they ask me to run and I then I decided to do some consultation, I needed to be sure that, that was what the women wanted especially the women in the rural communities wanted.
And, of course, yes, that was what they wanted, they wanted a female to represent them and then working with the women in various communities, especially in the rural communities where you have to ride motorcycles for two to three hours, where you have to walk for three hours in the swamp not like on land, working with the women in all these communities, seeing that there are no clinics there, there is no access to any Normal life there, so I felt that was a call that I should answer to and so I decided to go in the race and yes and I contested and it was a good experience”.
TSM: Can you care to give us some of the experience/s you met during the campaign?
Answer: “well, one thing Sinoe is a different place, Sinoe is different in the sense where people that have absolutely no record of doing anything in the county can be elected.
Because they are from a certain party or because people say the president wants the party to win and so whether the person has done anything or not, you know they can vote for him and Don’t care about what you have been doing for them over the years.
Sinoe is just a place where because this person is my child or is from my tribe I can vote for them, even though they have not done anything to benefit the community that they come from, but they can vote for them because they are from that community and so that’s vote goes in Sinoe.
Sinoe people don’t care about what you do and Sinoe people are concerned about money, somebody that will bring money right away, on the spot money they don’t care about what you have done that brought money to them that they can benefit from but they are concerned about the tens of thousands and five thousand, where the people will bring immediately and they eat it immediately so Sinoe is a wonderful place and a different kind of place to contest.”
TSM: Let’s talk about the issues that you tried to address and why you saw the need in contesting?
Answer: “Well even right now, and even after the election I am still trying to solve some of those issues that I encountered along the way, those issues that prompted me to contest, lack of clinics, lack of schools there are communities where the kids don’t have where there is no structure, so kids are not going to school there and so I am trying to address some of those issues.
There are communities where there are no hand pumps, so people still drink from out of Creek and so I am addressing some of those issues, places where we go for meeting especially when the sun is hot people can sit under trees on something to discuss, there are some issues, yes even though according to the raked election results that the NEC reported and I like to emphasize the raked results that NEC reported, but I am still in the county and trying to fulfill my campaign promises in some communities.”
TSM: You spoke about working with women, what specifically were you doing before contesting for the Senate?
Answer: “ I am the founder and Former Executive Director of Women for Self-Employment and Economic Empowerment, and I have established that right here in Sinoe and I have been working with women and youths with pretty close to over 10,000 youths and women here in Sinoe and all of the three districts.
I have been working with them and doing economic empowerment which is my passion and have been doing it in all the electoral districts and we’ve discussed a little about sexual and gender-based violence against women and peacebuilding projects but agriculture also which is one of our major components of economic empowerment, village savings and loans we are the leading institution in Liberia so we being working and doing economic empowerment for women and youths.”
TSM: What were your worst moment and what was your best, I mean your campaign trail?
Answer:” my best moments was seeing the women that they were working with me and standing up for me, and having a solid campaign chair who’s also a female, madam Annie Weon, for working with me and leaving her job, leaving their business leaving everything and being so committed without getting a single paid, going with me in the rural communities, seeing the women in the community working and community people are giving me their chickens, that I didn’t buy from them and I said why should people sacrifice this much.
You know it was trailing, and I felt that these women really needed relief, and it was an excellent good experience, and maybe my worst experience was the harassment, for us to turn to a country where there is no rule of law, where the superintendent of the county, the city Mayor of the county, the lawmaker of the county or even representative will harass chiefs, harassing Paramount chiefs, harassing town chief and harassing even teachers, you know intimidating people, threatening them saying when your vote for Grace here we will do this and that.
Nothing more hurt me than for them to go to my own hometown and intimidate my people that when they vote for me the president will sack this person, the president will do that.
I have not seen a country where the president will sack someone because they voted for their own village, they summoned them(County officials) several times, my family, they will enter my meeting intimidating my people, everywhere I went to hold my campaign rally, CDC will send people there, Chea will send people there to disrupt my meeting, is that the way to win elections, in fact, Chea didn’t work in Sinoe, there is nowhere in a country where the county superintendent will be involved in the election.”
TSM: Let’s talk about the political party that you ran on did u receive the full support like any other candidates?
Answer: Yes I got the full support, my political leader, I got the full support of the CPP, Mr. Cummings was here, he even bought a car for me to run the campaign I want to say thank you to him, he really stood by me in this election, the CPP women as well Mr. Cummings even pay for my poll washers, he spent a lot of money for my campaign and also Mr. Boakai too.”
TSM: Lastly, if you have one chance to make to win in another election, what would that be?
Answer: “We need to create more awareness into various communities, we need to move to more communities and engaged people a little earlier, maybe we need to just do more awareness, people were threatening, they were afraid, people were saying if this woman wins the president will not support the county, those were some of the threats and I know it’s not true because I am not an enemy to the president why should people threaten people.”