Nethy Dharma Somba, Jayapura – Tribal communities in Papua will finally have representatives at the regional legislative council, known as DPR Papua, following the nomination of 14 individuals by a selection team specifically tasked with dealing with the issue.
The 14 names will then be submitted to the Home Ministry for endorsement before officially starting their jobs in November.
Since Papua was granted special autonomy status in 2001, the resource-rich province was entitled to some special rights, one of which is the establishment of the DPR Papua, consisting of elected councillors and tribal appointees.
Unlike other legislative councils in provinces across the country, members of which are all elected, DPR Papua allocates 14 seats to tribal group representatives.
While the majority of the council members are elected in the general election once in five years, the 14 tribal representatives were appointees. However, due to legal misperception, local leaders could not begin appointing tribal representatives in 2004 and in 2009, leaving the representative seats for tribal groups vacant for more than a decade.
The selection of tribal group representatives was only started recently, after the Constitutional Court (MK) in 2010 ordered Papua's governor and DPR Papua to issue a regulation detailing the selection of the tribal representatives.
"The selection team has announced the 14 names and will later submit those names to the Home Ministry," selection committee chairman Emus Gwijangge told The Jakarta Post in Jayapura on Thursday.
He said the 14 appointees, who were picked from five tribes in the province, were expected to be sworn in November. They are Arnold Wenekolik Walilo, John W. Willil, Kope Wonda and Timotius Wakur (from La Pago tribal group), Ferry Omaleng, John Nasion Robby Gobay and Julius Miagoni (Mee Pago tribal group), Yohanes Luis Ronsumbre, Yonas Nusi and Yotam Bilasi (Saireri tribal group), Frits Tobo Wakyasu and Maria Elizabeth Kaize (Ha Anim tribal group) and Piter Kwano and Ramses Ohee (Tabi tribe).
The selection of 14 tribal representatives was not without arguments and opposition. In July, Papua Governor Lukas Enembe ordered the selection team to drop candidates with affiliation to political parties. Lukas' decision triggered protest from the opposing camp.
This conflict has forced the central government to lend a hand solving the dispute. "This is the result of the selection team. It shows that they have done their job. The appointed figures are the representatives of tribal communities in Papua," said Emus.
The appointment of the 14 tribal representatives to sit in DPR Papua is in accordance with Article 6 of Law No. 21/2001 on Papua special autonomy. The number of elected councilors is 56. Combined with the 14 appointees, it makes a 70-member DPR Papua.
Jayapura's Cenderawasih University legal and political observer Marinus Yaung expressed doubt the result of the selection team would be followed up by the Home Ministry by swearing in the 14 elected members.
"The appointment of 14 Papua DPRD members has no legal basis, as the election law stipulates that House of Representatives and DPRD members are selected, while the 14 people were appointed without going through the selection process," said Yaung.