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Rights groups concerned over politicisation of TNI ahead of 2024 elections

Kompas.com - November 6, 2023

Krisiandi, Jakarta – The Civil Society Coalition is concerned that there is a politicisation of the TNI (Indonesian military) occurring in the lead up to the 2024 elections.

Coalition member Julius Ibrani, who is also the chairperson of the Indonesian Legal Aid and Human Rights Foundation (PBHI), said this concern emerged after President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo nominated General Agus Subiyanto as the replacement for TNI commander Admiral Yudo Margono.

According to Ibrani, an aroma of nepotism has begun to be apparent because of Widodo's closeness to Subiyanto who was the Surakarta (Solo) district military commander (Dandim) from 2009 to 2011 when Widodo was mayor.

"The president's proposed TNI commander, namely Agus Subiyanto, was once the Surakarta Dandim when Jokowi held the post of mayor in the same city", said Ibrani in a written release on Monday November 6.

According to Ibrani, the replacement of Margono seems to be leading towards practical politics and partisan group interests.

Ibrani said that these interests can be seen from Widodo's meddling (cawe-cawe) in the 2024 elections, particularly in relation to his eldest son and Solo Mayor Gibran Rakabuming Raka who has been nominated as Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto's vice presidential running mate.

"I our view, the name Agus Subiyanto is rife with political dimensions. This proposed name also has great potential for misuse by the president in the 2024 electoral contest", he said.

"Therefore, the wider community should also be concerned about the potential politicisation of the TNI as an institution in the upcoming 2024 electoral contest", he added.

In addition to this, the Coalition also noted that during his term in office Widodo has often gives posts to people based on their closeness to him.

Such as national police chief General Listyo Sigit Prabowo who was Solo municipal police chief when Widodo was the mayor of the city.

TNI commander (now retired) General Andika Perkasa, who once held the post of Presidential Security Guard Commander (Danpaspampres) in 2014-2016 during Widodo's first term in office.

"[And] TNI commander Air Chief Marshal (now retired) Hadi Tjahjanto, who served as the commander of the Adi Soemarmo Air Base in 2010-2011 when Joko Widodo was mayor of Solo and military secretary to the president in 2015-2016 when Joko Widodo served his first term as president", asserted Ibrani.

General Subiyanto has not responded specifically to the issue of being "close to" Widodo. When asked by journalists he just smiled and claimed to still be focusing on his position as Army Chief of Staff (KSAD), a position he was appointed to by Widodo only a week earlier.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Koalisi Sipil Khawatirkan Politisasi TNI Jelang Pemilu 2024".]

Source: https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2023/11/06/08324451/koalisi-sipil-khawatirkan-politisasi-tni-jelang-pemilu-202