Editorial: Damage Control, Not Progress, in Budi Exit
As of the time the Jakarta Globe went to print on Friday night, President Joko Widodo had still not made his promised announcement on what he planned to do about the nomination of Budi Gunawan, his pick for police chief, who is also a corruption suspect. All signs, though, pointed to Joko dropping Budi’s nomination altogether in light of the controversy it has generated over the past month.
At this point, then, it would be fitting to laud the president for such a wise move. Only we won’t do it. Instead, we demand that Joko explain why he nominated Budi in the first place, knowing full well, from an earlier attempt to include him in his cabinet, that the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) had already highlighted the police general as problematic because of the allegations of money-laundering and bribery that have long dogged him.
The conventional thinking is that Joko chose Budi as a concession to his political patron, Megawati Soekarnoputri, the chairwoman of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P). But if that was indeed the case, then we have to ask why Joko, the president, was doing the bidding of a party official instead of looking out for the best interests of the Indonesian people.
Another theory is that Joko picked Budi knowing that the KPK would pounce, and intended this way to get rid of Budi and advance a candidate of his own choosing, while still appearing to have tried to please Megawati. But if true, then Joko’s political cunning has led to the shredding of the KPK, with the police launching a series of seemingly retaliatory probes against KPK leaders.
Any way you slice it, Joko messed up. If indeed he has dropped Budi, then that is not a step forward. We are still without a police chief, and the KPK continues to come under attack.
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Source: The Jakarta Globe