Jokowi to visit West Papua’s Pegunungan Arfak to hold dialog

Anggi, West Papua (ANTARA) – A week after his Oct-20 official presidential oath-taking, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) will visit Pegunungan Arfak District, Sunday (Oct 27), amid native Papuan leaders’ aspirations for dialog to resolve problems plaguing Papua and West Papua.

The West Papua provincial and Pegunungan Arfak district administrations had made necessary preparations for welcoming the president, Pegunungan Arfak District Head Yosias Saroy told journalists in Anggi on Thursday.

Saroy plans on suggesting to accelerate the completion of road and bridge construction projects to President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) during his working visit.

“The status of the Prafi-Minyambouw-Anggi-Anggi Gida-Ransiki Road Section needs to be increased to be a national road since it connects the districts of Manokwari, Pegunungan Arfak, and Manokwari Selatan,” he emphasized.

He plans on also appealing to the president to prioritize the development of human resources and expedite the construction of public hospital and health centers as well as boarding schools in his district, Saroy noted.

In boosting the tourism industry, Saroy plans on also drawing President Jokowi’s attention to the construction of Snomeba Anggi Airport and development of tourist destinations and coffee plantation.

Papua and West Papua have caught the attention of both Indonesian and foreign media after a spate of violence broke out in several parts of these two Indonesian provinces in August and September 2019.

On August 28, violence broke out in Deiyai District, some 500 kilometers away from Jayapura, resulting in the deaths of an army soldier and two civilians.

Protests were again held on August 29 by the indigenous Papuan residents of Jayapura, as they vented their ire over the alleged racist behavior against their Papuan compatriots in Surabaya, but their rally then turned violent.

On September 23, a deadly riot had erupted in Wamena, the capital city of Jayawijaya District, Papua Province, killing 33 civilians, including a senior medical doctor, who had served the native Papuans for 15 years.

In response to this recent Wamena rioting, a Papuan priest has appealed to Jokowi to hold a dialog with the representatives of all Papuan community groups to find solutions to crucial problems in the province.

The Papuan people are keen to hold a discussion within the spirit of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia, as the central government had done in Aceh Province, Esmon Welilo, a priest who is also chairman of the Interreligious Harmony Forum (FKUB), stated.

“We do hope that the dialog can be held during his second leadership term,” he stated.

Welilo pointed to the fact that Jokowi is the first Indonesian president to have undertaken 12 working visits to Papua Province, including thrice to Wamena, the capital city of Jayawijaya District.

Under Jokowi’s leadership, it is time for the central government to hold a dialog to seek comprehensive solutions to the problems in Papua, he affirmed, adding that he believed that all Papuans would continue to support the government’s programs.

The call for holding a dialog with President Jokowi was also echoed by West Papua Governor, Dominggus Mandacan, on September 12, 2019.

Chairman of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU)-Jayapura Chapter KH Kahar Yelipele has appealed to President Jokowi to rebuild houses and kiosks that rioters set on fire and vandalized during the recent violence in Jayapura and Wamena.

Source: ANTARA News