Ministry appointing acting governor while Papua Governor Lukas Enembe sick reaps protests

regional secretary
Papua regional secretary Dance Y Flassy. Courtesy of Jubi.

Jayapura, Jubi – The Home Affairs Ministry has appointed Papua regional secretary Dance Yulian Flassy to be the acting governor as Papua Governor Lukas Enembe is still being treated for an illness in a hospital in Singapore, while governor deputy Klemen Tinal has died on May 21, 2021.

 

The Ministry’s Regional Autonomy director-general Akmal Malik signed the designation on Thursday, June 24. The event has reaped protests from various party including Enembe himself.

 

Enembe wrote to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Thursday, calling Jokowi to revoke the appointment.

 

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Malik said that according to the Regional Government Law, an acting governor was only required to carry out daily government tasks, which were not related to strategic policymaking. He said that had his party not appoint an acting governor for Papua, there would be several consequences, including the delay in the distribution of some funds.

 

Read also: Papua governor Enembe hospitalized in Singapore, regional secretary takes the helm

 

On Saturday, the Governor’s spokesperson Muhammad Rifai Darus said that Enembe would return to Papua in early July, and therefore, the Papua government was currently not needing an acting governor.

 

“As the Governor told me, he will handle all documents related to the budget, even though there is a risk for a late [budget absorption],” Darus told Jubi in a phone call.

 

Meanwhile, several civil groups including the Papua Church Council and the Papuan People’s Coalition have expressed disapproval against the appointment of Flassy as an acting governor.

 

Both groups deemed the appointment of an acting governor was a political strategy to expedite the continuation of the Special Autonomy Law and regional expansion without the involvement of the Papuan People.

 

“The way we see it, the acting governor appointment is only the continuation of the regional secretary controversy back in March, wherein there were two regional secretaries appointed by the Papua Administration and the Ministry respectively,” said the Papua Church Council.

 

“We are seeing a controversy on the appointment of an acting governor while at the same time, the government keeps ignoring the root cause of the Papua problems, namely racism and the violations of human rights,” the council added.

 

Read also: West Papua Church Council expresses concerns for armed conflicts, racism, otsus

 

Coordinator of the Papuan People’s Coalition Dias Gwijangge said Flassy should have talked to Enembe first as his superior before writing to the Home Affairs Ministry. “Moreover, we must remember that the people directly chose Governor Lukas Enembe in two terms,” Gwijangge said.

 

Gwijangge demanded Flassy and Malik to apologize publicly to the Governor and the Papuans, as well as demanded Flassy to resign from his post as the Papua regional secretary.

 

Papuan People’s Coalition spokesperson Panji Agung Mangkunegoro added that Flassy and Enembe had not been in line in carrying out the government tasks. “The regional secretary must be in line, not contradictory with the Governor. We demand Jakarta to stop intervening in the Papua Government. The president must revoke the appointment of the acting governor,” he said.

 

However, on Sunday, deputy of the Papua Legislative Council Yunus Wonda claimed Enembe had settled the matter. Wonda further said the debate was only a matter of miscommunication.

 

“The Governor did not know about the appointment prior. Whoever the person is, they will be surprised if they feel that their authority has been preceded by others and that’s what the Governor feels. This must be a lesson for better communication in the future to prevent similar controversy from happening,” he said.

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