Why is the public rejecting Jokowi?

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Asyari Usman
Senior Journalist

IO – Many observers wonder why the people apparently no longer want to be led by Jokowi. “Why do people not approve of the President?”

It is frankly not too difficult to answer this question. Despite my reluctance, I need to spell it out anyway: the people do not back Jokowi because he clearly lacks the capability and capacity required to lead a nation, especially one as huge as Indonesia. Jokowi has repeatedly displayed his incompetence – this is not something anyone imagined. Within the past four years, Jokowi’s “leadership” has become a source of economic-social-political problems. Capability and capacity are not something you can fake. No matter how strong the team pulling your strings, a gap that big will remain open, and no amount of fancy decoration can cover it up.

Capability is defined as “the ability to do something well”. Capacity is “the volume of capability”. In the case of our President, he sadly lacks both necessary skills, and the amount is also insufficient. Like bad tap water, it is both dirty and insufficient. A President of the Republic of Indonesia who lacks necessary capabilities is quite different from, say, an unqualified candidate for mayor or governor. Once he assumed the post of President, all of Jokowi’s weaknesses were glaringly and immediately evident, as he in the spotlight of all components of civil society. This includes the People’s Representative Council of Indonesia (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat – “DPR”), the mass media, NGOs, political organizations, and the public at large. Worse, since he is the chosen leader of a great country, Jokowi is also carefully scrutinized by representatives of foreign countries.

All Jokowi’s movements and actions are clearly shown. His political bias cannot be hidden; his personal agenda is there for everyone to see. From all this, we can safely conclude that Jokowi’s leadership endangers Indonesia’s future. During his term as the Mayor of Solo, the list of issues he faced in that post would naturally be much simpler than the major challenges presented at a national level. Once in the Presidential Palace, Jokowi was responsible for instituting policies that affect all of the people. Whatever he does will be digested and interpreted by everyone.

If, for example, he seems not to like Islam or Muslims, this would be clearly evident. Naturally, he would have to have a faceoff with this considerable power bloc. This is something that all presidents had to deal with, from the time NKRI was established. If Jokowi truly possessed a “national capability and capacity”, he should not have been in a faceoff with Muslims as he currently is. You may well ask “Which Muslims?” to which I reply, “Just feel it for yourself. Is it there or not, is it huge or not, Islamic resistance against Jokowi?”

Then is this problem caused merely because Jokowi’s politics relating to Islam are disadvantageous? Yes, but only partially. Politics and policies unhelpful for Islam are exacerbated by blunders in economic and physical development. The impacts of these mistakes are directly felt by Muslims, as the largest component of our society. Most people are aware that Jokowi lacks national leadership – he simply does not have the capacity and capability to lead a nation.

Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan knows this. Megawati knows this. Hendropriyono knows this very well, and so do Surya Paloh, Wiranto, and many others. They are experienced, crafty players. In fact, many observers state that they not only know that Jokowi is incompetent, but they actually promoted him for this very reason. Their purpose is to put up a candidate who is wholly dependent on them. They then exploit opportunities to “help” or “advise” him. Luhut, for example, “helps out” by volunteering to speak on Jokowi’s behalf regarding every issue. He readily takes on any duty that comes up – so much so that people call him “Minister of All Affairs”. The other players “help” by steering Jokowi in other ways.

Those who “help out” Jokowi always have a satisfied smile on their faces. What do I mean by “satisfied smile”? Exactly that: they feel “satisfied” when they help him out. At street level, a “satisfied smile” shows that you have eaten your fill at a streetside stall. You smile in satisfaction because your stomach is full, or because you can buy your supply of cigarettes for a week ahead. You can buy 20 kilos of rice to feed your family. In other words, you (and your family) are safe for the next seven days – not as far as the next seven generations. People at street level can only think of their survival and security just for the next seven days…but these few VIPs who smile in satisfaction can secure their own lives for the next seven generations. Especially if they do some political “puppeteering” – their security and prosperity can extend even down to 14 generations!

Since Jokowi baldly lacks any capability or capacity, high-level power brokers come out of the woodwork, to “guide” – actually control the direction of his government. He is surrounded by opportunistic politicians who need his signature on many documents. Jokowi gets so confused in managing the country due to so much intervention that he was once forced to admit that “I do not read what I sign.”

Sorry to have to point this out, but it is possible that Jokowi’s lack of competence is the reason behind his reluctance to participate in various international forums. For example, he missed four sessions of the United Nations’ General Assembly in New York. Here’s another example: one day in October 2015, Jokowi accepted an invitation to serve as a speaker at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC. Excuse me again for saying this, but he seemed not to fully understand what the anchor was saying. He further answered two questions from the audience by saying lightly, “I want to test my Minister.” Pro-Jokowi media stated that his statement helped to create a relaxed atmosphere, replete with laughter, while in fact it was a shameful and obvious effort to evade the questions presented.

That was a spectacular example of incompetence, revealing a lack of ability to lead the nation. This is a President being held up by opportunistic politicians in order to get him to depend on them. They do not care about the welfare of the people or the nation – they only care about their personal gain. Even worse, Jokowi’s incompetence as President is not simply an opportunity for power brokers to enrichen themselves, but also polarizes people at the grass-root level. This division is real: because of his lack of capability, Jokowi takes 100% of his input from people who only care about the agenda of the minority – both business and social minorities. This means that the aspiration of the majority (i.e. Indonesian Muslims) must be ignored, must be crippled and repressed.

These secular, minority, and anti-Islamic politicians unite in telling Jokowi that the repression of majority aspirations is the best formula for managing Indonesia. This is fatal. Polarization hardens, as Jokowi keeps on forging ahead with this formula. He is now frontally opposing Muslims. His course of action is a dangerous one: he takes big risks due to the advice of rotten politicians. Jokowi trusts them, fully depends on them, while they are the very ones who, whether he realizes it or not, have put him in this precarious position.

Consequently, Jokowi is today haunted by a shadow of defeat. He brought in Kyai Ma’ruf Amin as his Vice-Presidential candidate to attempt to dispel the notion that he dislikes Islam, but this action did not generate the desired impact. It is too little, too late. The people still see that Jokowi does not care about the Ummat. They reject him, view him as a President who will dump Indonesia into an economic, social, and political hell.

Jokowi is rejected. He has no national leadership capability or capacity. He is not one that you should trust to lead any nation, especially Indonesia, with all of its complexity.