Don’t Let Indonesia’s Dark Past Find Its Way Into the Future
Abdul Qowi Bastian
Just hours after the unofficial quick count results revealed that Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama won the Jakarta gubernatorial runoff election on Thursday, Prabowo Subianto’s Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) claimed to be the “initiator of Jakarta’s transformation.”
At least that’s what it says on the giant billboard erected strategically in the busy Harmoni intersection in Central Jakarta, featuring the images of Prabowo and M. Taufik, the head of Gerindra’s Jakarta chapter.
Many analysts agree that Prabowo is the real winner in the Jakarta elections, considered a barometer for the 2014 presidential election. Jokowi’s win is seen as a boost to the ex-general’s chances for the presidency. In fact, the Kopassus commander under Suharto has topped a number of surveys on the popularity and electability of possible presidential candidates (though it’s not clear who funded them), ahead of former Vice President Jusuf Kalla and former President Megawati Sukarnoputri.
Earlier this year, before the deadline for the gubernatorial candidacy, Prabowo lobbied Megawati to nominate the famous Solo mayor for DKI-1. Prabowo is believed to have targeted Jokowi because he knew that the humble mayor has what it takes to enhance his image.
Furthermore, the retired general, to some extent, has managed to improve his image among the Indonesian-Chinese by recruiting Ahok to serve as the head of the party’s national politics division. In doing so, Prabowo seems to be washing his wrongdoings in the past.
And thanks to Prabowo, Jakarta now has a new hope to sort out its deep-rooted problems. An insider told me before Thursday’s elections that Gerindra and Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) will work super hard to improve the country’s capital during Jokowi and Ahok’s first two years in office. If the newly elected governor and deputy governor do well, Prabowo’s path toward the nation’s top post will be smoother.
Some even speculate that Prabowo will take Jokowi along as his running mate in 2014. Others say Ahok is more suitable for the position.
While Jakartans have high hopes that Jokowi will be able to fix the city’s mega-problems, fingers crossed they don’t let the man behind the scenes use this as a way to seize the presidency. Fourteen years is not a long time to forget, and Indonesians, hopefully, aren’t forgetful.