Mixed messages
Published: Apr 27, 2014

Bobby Anderson

Golkar on the campaign trail in Jayawijaya - Bobby Anderson

Tolikara is a remote and new district in the Papuan Highlands. The 9 April 9 2014 legislative elections in Bokondini, a small town in Tolikara, took a bizarre turn as two of Indonesia’s largest Islamic parties – PPP (Unity Development Party) and PKS (Prosperous Justice Party) – both campaigned for the Christian vote. And while the national, and provincial, PPP candidates are usually Muslim, the local candidates for Tolikara seats on these party tickets were Christians – aspiring politicians hoping to break into local legislatures dominated by bigger parties like Golkar and Demokrat.

7. Anderson2PPP supporters gather in Bokondini, Tolikara - Bobby Anderson
7. Anderson3PPP supporters in Tolikara waiting for the candidate - Bobby Anderson
7. Anderson4PPP candidates and (paid) supporters, Tolikara - Bobby Anderson

And so, a bizarre display unfolded: Muslim outsiders from outside Tolikara stumping for the PPP and PKS vote, while local Papuans on the PPP and PKS tickets organised parades and rallies in an attempt to appeal to indigenous Papuans. This resulted in a menage of penis gourds, PPP flags, bras, and PKS t-shirts.

7. Anderson5A happy PPP cadre with local supporters - Bobby Anderson
7. Anderson6A dubious onlooker at the PPP rally - Bobby Anderson
7. Anderson7PPP on the march in Tolikara - Bobby Anderson
7. Anderson8PPP on the march in Tolikara - Bobby Anderson
7. Anderson9PKS, Tolikara - Bobby Anderson

Bobby Anderson (rubashov@yahoo.com) works on health, education, and governance projects in Eastern Indonesia, and he travels frequently in Papua province.

Inside Indonesia 116: Apr-Jun 2014