APSN Banner

Indigenous Papuans in South Papua protest on alleged electoral irregularities

Tabloid Jubi - March 14, 2024

Merauke, Jubi – Thousands of indigenous Papuans in South Papua Province took to the streets at Brawijaya-Libra Circle Park in Merauke Regency on Tuesday (3/13/2024). They believed their political rights were undermined during the 2024 General Election, particularly regarding the legislative vote count held in four districts in the region.

They carried dozens of banners expressing their demands and protests regarding the conduct of the 2024 election. They gathered and delivered speeches at Brawijaya Circle Park despite the rain, under tight security surveillance.

Various speakers took turns voicing the aspirations of the indigenous communities of South Papua, all of which were related to their political rights. One of the speakers, also a South Papuan activist, Victoria Diana Gebze, stated during her speech that the indigenous people of South Papua took to the streets to protest because there were irregularities in the 2024 election process.

"We, the indigenous people of South Papua, have sincere hearts and high tolerance to accept anyone from the archipelago who comes to this land to live together in harmony. We want peace, and we do not want to resort to protests like this but our political rights are not respected," she said.

Gebze also urged the Acting Governor of South Papua, Apolo Safanpo, as the political leader in the region, to listen to and address the aspirations of the indigenous people of South Papua regarding the elections.

"Furthermore, we urge the Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) and the General Election Commission (KPU) as the organizers of the 2024 elections to be accountable for the indigenous Papuan candidates whose votes went missing during the vote tallying process. Also, the reports of vote-buying that have been filed with Bawaslu," she added.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Communication Forum for Indigenous Papuan Candidates, Robert Kaiba, expressed that they observed a flawed system, one that deviated from the election process itself. There were violations that occurred before the election process and during the vote tallying in various polling stations in several districts that did not reflect a fair democratic process.

"There were violations, such as alleged vote-buying in Jagebob District, vote-buying in Bupul, and irregularities in the electoral process in Kimaam. These have been reported to Bawaslu but there has been no follow-up or communication to us regarding the handling of these issues," said Robert Kaiba.

Kaiba added that initially, they protested to the Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) of Merauke Regency and the South Papua People's Assembly (MRPS), but the outcomes of their efforts did not meet their expectations.

"Therefore, we take to the streets to protest and demand that high-ranking regional officials, including the governor, regents, MRPS chairman, Bawaslu, and KPU, come and talk to all of us," he concluded. (*)

Source: https://en.jubi.id/indigenous-papuans-in-south-papua-protest-on-alleged-electoral-irregularities