In this week’s gubernatorial elections there was a lot of choice. Many candidates for a job no one in his right mind would fancy. Why do some people want to run for those public offices?
If you ask candidates most of them will say they want to dedicate their talents and energy to public welfare. In the old days they might have added their inspirational ideological background as a drive. But I can’t remember anyone confessing he or she is just a vain, overambitious person thirsty for power trying to get away from a bad marriage. Which to me all seem to be a perfect legitimate reasons. Not as motive as such but as a tool to turn dreams into reality. A better future for the community. Which is what they usually tell their electorate. They never tell that dream is a better future for themselves and their political friends – which is slightly less legitimate.
Now Joko will be next Jakarta’s governor.
A premature conclusion I admit, but a very likely one. Flying on his reputation of success in Surakarta and his apparently charming communication, he gathered 42% of the votes in last week’s gubernatorial elections. Way over the 33% of his remaining opponent in the final run off. It proved to be a strong ticket – a charismatic mayor and the partner’s ethnic twist.
So, everybody happy?
Joko Widodo and his running mate, Gerindra politician Basuki Tjahaja “Ahok” Purnama, definitely are. But Fauzi and his supporters would of course have preferred a different outcome. And for quite different reasons the people of Surakarta probably will also regret their mayor moves on. But the main thing is that a very significant part of the electorate in Jakarta seemingly has high hopes their new governor will bring about in Jakarta what he in public perception did in his previous job: a safe and clean, well-organized metropolis without flooding but with clean air and smooth running traffic based on first class public transport.
I assume Joko is power-thirsty for the right reasons. Yet there’s his first problem: his is a mission impossible. Under all circumstances. Because Jakarta is not comparable to Surakarta 2012. But especially since Jakarta is not Singapore 1959. Too much vested interests are present and a city state, a de facto dictatorship in a de facto one party system, decades of years ahead and Lee Kuan Yew in the driving seat are lacking. By the way “Singapore” is not a recipe I would recommend to any population whatever the conditions are. The best thing for inhabitants of the capital to do is lower expectations and hope for the best. Reconstruction of a metropolis is due to be a (very) long term tedious, frustrating and fragmented process.
But there”s another problem from the start.
It’s quite possible Joko’s intention is to use his newly acquired substantial power inherent to his public office exclusively for furthering Jakarta’s welfare. But can he? What does he owe some of his major political friends who are big bad bullies from the past ( and, God forbid, in the very near future)? Indonesia’s political industry is all about personalities – ideals and ideology are conspicuously absent. Parties seem to be merely political vehicles for political Godfathers and King-makers. It’s one of the system’s weaknesses in my opinion. And actually Gerindra is one of the two pillars Joko is sitting on. One may wonder what New Order general, Prabowo Subianto wants in return for backing the almost governor elect now.
It’s like an old fashioned Western movie. Will hero Jokowi on the white horse be blackmailed or threatened into steering off the right trail or will he manage to expose the villains on the black horses, restore law and order and head for the shining future on the horizon?