Benny Giay remembering Lukas Enembe’s legacy, reflecting on challenges within Papua’s political landscape

Benny Giay
Pastor Dr. Benny Giay in his office at Walter Post Theological College Sentani, Jayapura Regency, Papua, Monday (18/12/2023) - Jubi/CR-8

Jayapura, Jubi – Papua figure Rev. Benny Giay deeply mourned over the passing of former Governor Lukas Enembe on Tuesday, December 26, 2023. Giay urges the Papuan community to remain calm and focused on honoring Lukas Enembe, a great leader who contributed significantly to Papua.

“Let us honor this great leader of ours, by receiving him well, and burying him with dignity. When we receive a departed soul, it’s our chance to remember the good things they have done. After that, let us continue the good deeds he wished to accomplish but could not finish; let us carry them forward,” Giay told Jubi on Tuesday.

Lukas Enembe passed away at the Gatot Soebroto Army Central Hospital in Jakarta on Tuesday due to kidney failure, according to Enembe’s lawyer, Petrus Bala Pattyona.

Benny Giay admitted being deeply shocked by the news of Enembe’s passing.

“The news shook us. We were not prepared [for it]. Last night we were talking with several members of the Papua Legislative Council, hoping for Lukas Enembe’s speedy recovery. But this afternoon, we received news of his death. It is a heavy blow for us,” Giay stated.

Giay regarded Lukas Enembe as a significant leader who initiated development in Papua, even in the most remote regions.

“Since Mr. Lukas Enembe became Governor in 2013 until his tenure ended, he was the driving force of development [in Papua]. He initiated movements to uplift his people, bringing hope to us,” he remarked.

According to Giay, Enembe made significant strides that would be recorded in history.

“I believe the majority of the community, including myself, appreciate many things, including hosting the National Sports Week XX in Papua, extending development to remote areas that were untouched before 2013,” he added.

Benny Giay also praised Lukas Enembe’s attention to providing education to Indigenous Papuans.

“His attention to education, sending indigenous Papuan students abroad, even though I have heard that Papuan students abroad face difficulties now. I think he was quite energetic. We lose him in that aspect,” Giay mentioned.

He also considered Enembe a figure who remained courageous and critical despite holding the position of Governor.

“His critical voice as an official shows that his conscience was not silenced by bureaucracy, a Governor who worked with his heart,” Giay stated.

He further asserted that Lukas Enembe was the first Governor of Papua from the central mountainous region, an area with limited access and facing various challenges in education and healthcare services. For Giay, Enembe’s political career achievements in reaching the Governorship were extraordinary.

“For us mountain people, he was an important Governor of Papua because previously, all Governors were not from the mountains. Throughout his 20-year political career, he did remarkable things. As a two-term Governor of Papua, he showed how someone from the mountains could sit in Dok II (the center of governance in Papua). Looking at Enembe, considering the fact that he had work, during two terms, he left his mark there,” Giay expressed.

Giay did not deny that Lukas Enembe was shadowed by corruption allegations. However, Giay reminded that Enembe became Governor of Papua in a financial management system that was already broken, making it difficult for anyone within the system to escape the shadow of corruption.

“It is good to criticize those in office. But we have to accept that our officials, including those who become Governor of Papua, they exist within a corrupt and rampant corruption system. Even the Corruption Eradication Commission chair (Firli Bahuri) is corrupt. Papua’s elite suffers within this broken system,” said Benny Giay. (*)

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