Watching this last few weeks of politics in Indonesia has been like watching a bad Indonesian soap opera (called sinetron over here) unfold.
Earlier in the year, the Jokowi Government filed Budi Gunawan as the sole candidate for the Chief of Police to Parliament .
But then the KPK (Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission) announced Budi Gunawan as a suspect three days following this dodgy appointment (Gunamawan is alleged to be Megawati’s boyfriend. His inauguration was due to happen on Megawati’s birthday !?!).
Gunawan was suspected of accepting bribes and gratuities while serving as Chief of Police Career Development Bureau from 2003 to 2006, as well as during other positions during his servicein the police.
The KPK ensnared Budi Gunawan with Article 12 paragraph a or b, Article 5, paragraph 2, Article 11 or Article 12 B of Law No. 31 of 1999 in conjunction with Law No. 20 Year 2001 on Corruption Eradication in conjunction with Article 55 paragraph 1 of the Criminal Code to-1..
The Parliament however announced Budi Gunawan (Megawati’s alleged ‘boyfriend’) was qualified despite the KPK allegations, and he was inaugurated by President Jokowi. This announcement became a heated political situation in Indonesia during mid-January 2015 and, under increasing pressure, Jokowi finally canceled Gunawan’s appointment and appointed Badrodin Haiti as acting police chief instead.
But on Friday, the KPK and Polri (Indonesia’s police service) have been engaged in a new battle, as the chairman of Indonesia’s Anti Corruption Institution was arrested on suspicion of being involved in alleged abuse of authority or omission or coercion during his time as a lawyer. A perceived direct tactic of systemic retaliations by Indonesia’s police service on behalf of their hard done Gunawan .
The alleged case which conveniently saw the arrest of KPK chairman Bambang Widjojanto was alleged to have occurred several years ago. And this case was been brought to the attention of POLRI (Indonesian police) by a man who has been involved in multiple suspect and alleged criminal activities himself. (I’ll add a link about the alleged case of this man later as cant find it right now – it was in print media in yesterday’s Kompas newspaper. It involved acts of physical violence and abuse against a rainforest activist in his region of Kalimantan).
So anyway the ‘gossipy’ side of this (Megawati’s and Gunawan’s realtionship) was just stuff I heard round that traps in Jakarta, but the frightening thing is that the chairman of the KPK WASarrested, and for reasons the criminal justice system can hardly justify on an allegation brought to the attention of the police (conveniently, years later) by a dodgy thug! This whole saga just continues to become sicker and sicker.
But the protest banner pictured says it all, really.. “Killing the KPK is the same as killing this nation”.. As that is what many anti corruption activists in Indonesia fear is happening right now!
There’s so much more to these minor points about this that could be discussed. But that would require more time. It’s all incredibly disappointing, particularly from a ‘leader’ such as Jokowi who carried the hopes of so many on his shoulders 😦
My contribution to last month’s Kashmir Walla Magazine on Jokowi’s Cabinet line-up, focussing on some of the 8 female Minsters in the Cabinet
Jokowi Widodo was sworn in as president of the world’s third-largest democracy, Indonesia, on October 20 amid an atmosphere of high hopes amongst supporters, winning a narrow victory over former Military Prabowo in July. The Jokowi Presidency marks the first time a member outside of the political and military elite has been elected as President and his campaign promised a government who would represent hope and change.
Jokowi announced his Cabinet line-up on Sunday October 26. After delaying the announcement for three days, speculation arose that Jokowi was wrangling with leaders in his coalition who were insisting on nominating problematic candidates.
There has been a level of disappointment expressed by some observers and analysts with what some see as political compromises in the final Cabinet line-up. Aspinal, a Professor of Politics at the Australian National University argued that Jokowi has “failed his first test” at promoting a truly reformist government stating that, while it is “possible that some of the ministers will emerge as strong reformers […] at first glance, this cabinet is far from being the fresh start that Jokowi promised”. Connelly from the Lowy Institute claims there are signs of “both of principle and compromise” in the appointments.
In a move that has drawn wide praise however, Jokowi has appointed eight female ministers to his cabinet, including the first female foreign minister in Indonesia, career diplomat Retno Marsudi.
Professor Yohana S. Yambise who became the first woman from Papua to become a professor, now represents the first Papuan woman to become a minister. She has been appointed to the position of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection.
One of the female appointees to the Cabinet who has been the subject of much discussion in Indonesia is Susi Pudjiastuti. With an incredible real rags-to-riches story that rivals even Jokowi’s, Pudjiastuti’s career began in the fish markets of Pangandaran West Java where she began work as a high-school dropout. Opening her business with a start-up capital of only $75 USD, Pudjiastuti’s business continued to grow, and in 1996 she set up a fish processing plant. As the fish processing business expanding into Asia and America, Susi created an air transportation company that quickly became one of the largest export companies in Indonesia. Pudjiastuti is the Minister of Marine and Fisheries.
The appointment of these women, amongst several others, represents a great opportunity for Indonesia to bridge the gender divide in representative politics. Particularly given the non-elite background of the selectees. While these appointments indicate positive change for Indonesia, several studies indicate that there generally needs to be at least 30 per cent women for them to have the confidence to support one another and to support issues important to women . However, this 25 per cent is very pretty close to that 30 per cent and these female representatives have a much better chance of getting things done than most governments in the world. Particularly those represented by Indonesia’s closest Southern neighbour, Australia, who only has one female Minister in parliament.
Despite disappointment expressed by observers and analysts at the purported lack of reform-oriented Ministers in the newly announced Indonesian cabinet, the line-up of women represents a real change for Indonesia. With Indonesia’s thriving civil society, these new ministers however will now not only have to face the challenges of managing their portfolios, but also must face heavy scrutiny from Indonesian society and media. From the fundamentalist religious right, to the progressively democratic wings of civil society, these highly engaged groups will utilize the many channels available to them in post-Suharto Indonesia to voice their opinions and demands of their leaders.
It was with such great elation that many journalists and other commentators announced the victory of Jokowi, the first truly post-Suharto figure elected to office in Indonesia. There was a lot at stake in the eyes observers in terms of the tone the next leader would set for the country for the next 5 years.
In the lead up to the election even The Jakarta “there-is-no-such-thing-as-being-neutral-when the stakes are so high” Post, openly declared their endorsement of Jokowi. Whilst other English-speaking media didn’t openly endorse the candidate, they did vigorously express their concerns about Prabowo, and for good reasons considering Prabowo’s alleged involvement in several controversial events in Indonesia.
Others like Tim Hanigan described the situation more sagely, in ways only long-time observers of Indonesia could, stating in an article during the campaign period that perhaps whoever was elected wouldn’t matter in the end, that “neither worst fears nor greatest hopes [would] ever seem really to come to pass”. That instead, varying constellations of the current powerful players would emerge in different alliances in years to come, including Praowo, Rais, Jokowi, Megawati, and Bakrie along with the other usual players in Indonesian politics. Several Indonesian political observers also made similar observations.
Many high profile Indonesian activists and artists stayed decidedly neutral, or even silent, throughout the period, and were questioned for it. But they put their silence down to letting their followers make their own, responsible electoral choices.
Those who spoke out in support of Jokowi were celebrated by expat coverage. It seemed to be a narrative of Jokowi as messiah for foreigners and the foreign press, the goodie versus baddie narrative Western media is such a fan of.
I too am probably guilty of that.
Now, however, there is a confounding silence coming from direction of the English-speaking world’s media commentators as to human rights implications for the appointment of Hendropriyono as an adviser three days ago to the transition team that will prepare Jokowi’s power-transfer from outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. (And I say the English speaking press, because in contrast it is a highly discussed matter in Indonesia right now).
Hendropriyono is suspected of being linked to the murder of human rights campaigner Munir Said Thalib in 2004. The former BIN chief, however, has denied the allegations and maintained that he had nothing to do with the case.
Jokowi has continued to play down the issue of appointing former intelligence chief Hendropriyono over the past few days.
“There are no problems. I can’t screen everybody that comes to me. Should I ask him if he was involved in this or in that, or in that abduction? It’s not like that. This is a legal issue and should be made clear. [Hendropriyono] should explain that,” Joko said on Sunday.
“I was appointed as an adviser,” Hendropriyono said of his appointment on Saturday. “I will prepare myself to give advice on intelligence.”
The wife of the late human rights activist (HAM) Munir, Mrs Suciwati, however criticised the appointment of Hendropriyono as an advisor to the Transition Team, claiming this is an indication that Jokowi will not, after all, “keep his promise that he would punish human rights violators”.
Harris Azhar, executive director of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), said that the appointment of Hendropriyono has raised concerns that human rights issues could take a backseat on the next government’s agenda.
The transition team was set up last week by Joko and is led by Rini M.S. Soewandi, a former minister of industry and trade, to help the incoming administration on budget matters and provide recommendations on cabinet appointments.
Hendropriyono’s involvement in the team prompted a warning from Haris Azhar, the coordinator of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence, or Kontras, who pointed to the former intelligence chief’s role in a bloody military crackdown on civilians in Talangsari, Lampung, in 1989, as well as his alleged links to the murder of prominent rights activist Munir Said Thalib in 2004.
Hendropriyono was never charged over the death of Munir, who was poisoned on board a flight from Jakarta to Amsterdam, but his deputy at the BIN at the time, Muchdi Purwopranjono, was indicted and later acquitted in the case.
Munir Said Thalib, affectionately known simply as Munir, was a high profile Indonesian human rights and anti-corruption activist. He was the founder of the Kontras human rights organisation and laureate of the 2000 Right Livlihood Award. Munir was assassinated in 2004 while travelling to Utrecht University to pursue a master’s degree in international law and human rights. His last position was executive director of IMPARSIAL, another Indonesian human rights NGO.
My contribution to the August edition of The Kashmir Walla Magazine about what the Jokowi victory might mean for Indonesia’s future. You can find the original text here
Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo was declared Indonesia’s president elect on July 22, winning almost 71 million votes and 53 per cent of the count. He represents Indonesia’s first President from an ordinary background without elite political lineage and the first genuinely post-Suharo political figure. For many observers, a Jokowi-led government represents an Indonesia whose time has finally come.
Jokowi grew up near a slum area in the central Javanese city of Solo where he would later become mayor at the beginning of his meteoric political career. His rise from humble beginnings has been his greatest political achievement so far, showing that Indonesian democracy is ready to elect a leader “from the people” rather than someone “born to rule”. He is a leader who embodies the hopes of ordinary Indonesians.
While his constituents and many observers hold high hopes for the man, in reality it may be difficult for Jokowi to live up to expectations of him as a reformer able to lead Indonesia beyond the period of democratic stagnation that has marked the end of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s reign.
Leading the world’s third largest democracy will also be made particularly difficult owing to the reality that Jokowi only holds only a third of the seats in Indonesian parliament.
In a nation as complex as Indonesia with a political culture reflective of that complexity, steering the country towards greater prosperity is an expectation that successive post-Suharto leaders have failed to live up to.
Following the fall of the Suharto regime in 1998, Indonesia had three successive post-Suharto Presidents: B.J. Habibie, Abdurrahmad Wahid, and Megawati Sukarnoputri.
Throughout this period, Indonesia had been characterised as a nation at a critical turning point, and the world had high hopes that Indonesia would emerge as a dominant regional power. But in the turbulence of the transition to democracy, these presidencies are now characterised more by their failure to steer Indonesia to its’ expected ascendency, rather than their successes.
In the wake of successive leadership failures, rather than rising from the ashes of the Suharto regime Indonesia instead faced a multitude of new problems and had to turn to international donors for economic rescue.
From 2004 under the two-term presidency of incumbent President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY), Indonesia was on the way to getting back on it’s feet.
The 2004 election gave a popular mandate to SBY and saw the country emerge as politically stable state in a consolidated democracy. At the end of Yudhoyono’s first term, he could claim a degree of economic success.
But Yudhoyono leaves office less popular than he was at the beginning of his second term, with many criticising democratic rollbacks across human rights, corruption, and electoral management. As Marcus Mietzner explains, the end of the SBY era has been marked by “democratic stagnation and, in some areas, partial regress”.
The Economists’ Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index also reflects this bleak picture of the nation, classifying Indonesia as a ‘flawed democracy’ in its 2006 and 2008 surveys, with the country’s score and overall ranking on a downward trend.
Mietzer points to conservative factions within Indonesia’s elite who tried hard to roll back democratic reforms during SBY’s term, “leading to a moderate but noteworthy decline in Indonesia’s democratic quality”.
It is against this backdrop that we have seen the ascendancy of the populist figures of Jokowi and his political opponent Prabowo.
Throughout their campaigns, these politicians have stood for everything Yudhoyono proved not to be: Staunchly nationalistic, decisive, practical, and invoking the hopes of little guy (orang kecil) in creating a brighter future for all Indonesians, rather than the elite few.
When Jokowi won indonesia’s presidential election with a margin of 6.3 percentage points, in his victory speech he again invoked the hopes of ordinary Indonesia, calling on his constituents to look to the future with optimism and enthusiasm:
“This presidential election has provoked fresh optimism in the Indonesian nation. An independent soul and sense of political responsibility blossoms in … It’s now our responsibility to prove to ourselves, to other nations and especially to our children and our grandchildren, that … politics is freedom.”
Jokowi’s party, the PDI-P (Indonesian Democratic Party – Struggle) and their coalition’s manifesto also evokes a call for optimism and change, a politics based on the principles gotong-royong (an Indonesian expression about working together to solve problems), and a socially and economically progressive platform. But the party’s first challenges will definitely prove unpopular.
Jokowi’s first major reform will be to cutting into the country’s fuel subsidies, which currently distort the economy and consume around a fifth of the annual budget. An important and necessary reform, however when there was a small increase in the cost of fuel last year Jakarta was shut down for a day by the protests that ensued.
The leader is also expected to make further difficult reforms which are needed restore Indonesia’s growth and set the country on the path to greater and more evenly spread prosperity. But as Gareth Leather, Asia economist at research firm Capital Economics pointed out to Time, “it is clearly too early to tell whether Jokowi will be the man to get Indonesia’s economy back on track. There is no magic bullet to reviving growth.”
As there is no magic bullet to reviving growth, there is also no guarantee that Indonesia’s representatives will be inspired to unity and support Jokowi’s progressive mandate, and Jokowi’s coalition of parties presently only holds around a third of the seats in the Indonesian parliament.
His rival Prabowo’s coalition has around two thirds of the seats.
Considering the incumbent Yudhoyono held a 70% majority parliament, he still found it extremely challenging to pass legislation. His inability to enact reform paralysed his last term.
Having seen what factionalism and internal politics can do to leadership groups in the country even when conditions in the DPR (House of Representatives) are in the government’s favour, those hopeful for a “new Indonesia” under a Jokowi presidency must remain mindful that elements within the regime may not necessarily work together cohesively in Jokowi’s favour. Even on a good day, government factions even within parties can and will undermine each other, compete for leadership internally, and engage in plots and counter-plots which disrupt every day decision making.
Jokowi proved his ability to solve major problems presented to his office during his time as mayor of both Solo and Jakarta. From his resoluteness in addressing the cities’ long neglected flood problems, to his firm approach to transforming the region’s massive bureaucratic inefficiencies.
However the idea that he will prove to be a reformer who will ruffle feathers, deal with Indonesia’s massive graft problems, and do on a larger national scale what he did so effectively in Solo and later he starting doing in Jakarta, is likely unrealistic. After all, back in 2004 SBY was elected in an atmosphere of similar optimism with expectations that he would be the reformist leader the country needed. Within five years Indonesia has instead been left thoroughly disappointed in by his leadership.
There probably won’t be a great deal of meaningful progress under a Jokowi Government in Indonesia. But for now, that doesn’t matter much. There is still an atmosphere of hope in Indonesia, and a feeling that with the election of Jokowi, Indonesia has been accorded an administration more consonant with its present.
Joko Widodo has been declared the winner of Indonesia’s presidential election and will take office in October.
Indonesia’s Election Commission (the KPU) has declared that Mr Widodo won the poll with almost 71 million votes, which is over 53 per cent of the count.
Prabowo Subianto, former military general and leader of Partai Gerakan Indonesia Raya (The Greater Indonesia Party) received 62.5 million votes or 46.8 per cent.
Yesterday afternoon, Prabowo Subianto and his running mate Hatta rejected the 2014 presidential election, which they claimed was “legally flawed”.
Some supporters claimed this meant Prabowo was no longer an actual candidate. But the KPU declaration indicates his status remained unchanged.
Despite Prabowo’s allegations, independent analysts have said that the poll has been by and large, free and fair.
A self-made man from humble beginnings, Jokowi represents change for Indonesia.
The much-respected former mayor of Solo and Jakarta won the election through positive campaigning, and by promoting active civic participation in the campaigning process, showing that political volunteerism in Indonesia has emerged as a powerful political force in the 2014 Presidential Election.
For a country who has always had leaders with close ties to the country’s elite, Jokowi represents a new style of leadership for Indonesia.
As one young Indonesian activist and author Fahd Djibran told me yesterday, for Indonesia, “Jokowi is a symbol of hope, and a leader who can embody the figure of [our] hopes into reality”.
“I would not be willing to promote a win by making the culture of discrimination in Indonesia worse. That would be a poison that would continue to undermine the public even though the election is over. A mature political consultant should also concerned with the growth of democracy and the rights of the nation” – Denny JA
A Presidential election is not only a battle between two presidential candidates and two political machines, it is also a battle between strategists. This was also true in the case of the Indonesia’s 2014 Presidential campaign, where we saw the playing out of a battle between campaign strategies prepared by an American PR consultant in camp Prabowo, and those of an Indonesian expert in public opinion and voting behavior in camp Jokowi.
Rob Allyn joined the Prabowo campaign team this year and is a political consultant who studied under Henry Kissinger at Georgetown, helped George W. Bush become governor of Texas in 1994 and consults for large corporations like Coca Cola. Denny JA at camp Jokowi is an anti-discrimination campaigner and also known as the founder of the tradition of political consultancy to Indonesia.
It has been widely reported in Indonesian media that Prabowo hired the American political consultant who is a well-known expert in negative and smear campaigning, with Tempo.com confirming the fact with Prabowo’s Gerindra Party on July 5, 2014.
Negative Vs Positive Campaign Tactics
The Prabowo versus Jokowi battle became increasingly colourful in it’s last weeks, as it also involved a battle between two political consultant types: between “black” or smear campaign tactics, and “positive grassroots and targeted” campaigning.
The most decisive part of the battle between Prabowo and Jokowi really happened in the last 20 days. Based on an LSI survey (Indonesian Survey Foundation) done in early June 2014, the margin to victory in the Jokowi camp was at 6.3%. But at the end of June 2014 it plunged again to only 0.5%, below the margin of error. Under these conditions, losing and winning became dependent on penetrating the intelligence of the voters until the final days before the election.
The Black Campaign
The alleged “Black Campaign” involved the spreading of lies about Jokowi’s ethnic and religious identity and, according to Denny JA, saw a marked drop in Jokowi’s popularity throughout the period in which they were employed.
These stories described Jokowi as a non-indigenous Indonesian, from a religious minority (some described him as begin a “secret “Chinese Christian”), and later accused him of having a PKI (Indonesian Communist Party) background.
Stories about Jokowi were circulated to remote villages. Even small children in slum alleys were heard shouting:” Jokowi hasn’t been circumcised yet.” And false news like this is enough to influence voters who come from conservative Muslim backgrounds, regional voters, and those from middle to lower socio-economic groups, according Denny JA and the LSI.
Based on the LSI survey between January – June 2014, support to Jokowi in the segment of voters was down from 50 percent to below 40%. Not surprisingly, there was a shift of support from Jokowi to Prabowo.
The black campaign against Jokowi was systematic, and could only be carried out by leaders who understand the behaviour of voters.
Denny JA Joins Team Jokowi
Denny JA spoke by phone with Jokowi on Saturday April 26 around 20:30, and it was at this time that Jokowi accepted his offer to join his team to prepare a strategy outside the official campaign team.
The next day, on Sunday, April 27, 2014, Denny JA met face with Jokowi in Luhut Pandjaitan. At that time they discussed how the Jokowi team would utilise the strength of civil society and volunteers, rather than relying on political parties and the media.
As support for Jokowi continued to decline, opinions had formed amongst Indonesia’s elite that Jokowi was going to lose the election. At this point, the team strategized a positive campaign against “black campaign” devised by Rob Allyn. This campaign was targeted at grassroots voters and the upper middle class.
The Strategy of Team jokowi
The strategy employed by Team Jokowi and Denny JA utilised networks in 11 provinces of Indonesia, more than 70% of the Indonesian population. Thousands of trained volunteers engaged voters in door-to-door campaigning. Through this strategy, Denny JA says millions were reached. Concentrated effort were also focussed on Indonesia’s 3 largest provinces: West Java, Central Java and East Java.
To program this strategy, Denny JA cooperated with Timses Volunteers under Eriko. Denny asked Eriko provide 30 volunteer groups in every province. Focus was also made on the campaign trail.
The first strategy was the Jokowi “First 100 Days” Promise. During this period Jokowi promised to focus on addressing three major issues: economic, political/legal and cultural.
These election promises were then advertised. First through Kompas Media and then extended to mainstream media advertising, including billboards, banners and flyers. The team also engaged social media.
Second, Jokowi’s 5 point political contract with the “small folk” (orang kecil) was made concrete with the pledge of providing one million rupiah per month to poor families, increasing the salaries of civil servants, teachers, police and military, and the promise of creating 10 million new jobs. This contract was also widely advertised.
Black Campaigning “A Poison” in a Country with a History of Ethnic and Religious Discrimination
Denny JA countered the Allyn orchestrated “black campaign” with positive campaign to attract grassroots and upper middle class engagement in the Jokowi campaign. As Denny JA explained, ” I could have also used a black campaign style to detract from Prabowo’s edge. However, I was not willing to do so. I have been a long time campaigner for an Indonesia Without Discrimination,” he said.
Denny JA denounced the use of religion and ethnicity in political campaigning, although these tactics can engage voters through the politics of fear. As he explained, “I would not be willing to promote a win by making the culture of discrimination in Indonesia worse. That would be a poison that would continue to undermine the public even though the election is over. A mature political consultant should also concerned with the growth of democracy and the rights of the nation,” he said.
Denny JA claims he joined the Jokowi camp “without any official request” but out of a personal wish “to help Jokowi. Willing to spend from his own pocket if needs be, this was a matter of ideals”, he said.
Exit Poll counts show Mr. Widodo with a lead of 3-6 percentage points.