Tribal leaders warn against installing new Fakfak regent

Tribal leaders warn against installing new Fakfak regent
, 4 November 2011

Tribal leaders in Fakfak regency, West Papua, have warned the government against installing the recently elected regent and deputy regent until the investigation into alleged electoral fraud is complete.

The warning came despite the recent Constitutional Court ruling in favor of the regent and deputy regent-elects, Mohammad Uswanas and Donatus Nimbit Kendik. Their election victory was tainted by allegations of vote rigging.

Tribal leaders in the Fakfak Community for Democracy and Justice (MFPDK) claimed Tuesday that the majority of people in the regency were aware of vote rigging by electoral workers during ballot counting and the local Regional Election Commission’s (KPUD) plenary sessions.

“Tribal leaders and the community will take to the streets and stage protests if Governor Abram Atururi goes ahead with Mohammad Uswanas and Donatus Nimbit Kendik’s scheduled swearing in on Oct. 5.

“[Tribal leaders] will not be responsible if things get out of control because justice was not served. We will stage protests in defiance of the security measures ... people know what happened during the election,” MFPDK head Ahmad Hindom said.

Ahmad and 15 other tribal leaders were in Jakarta to attend the Constitutional Court hearing on Oct. 28.

The court rejected a lawsuit filed by Said Hindom and Ali Baham, along with the two other campaigns that lost the Sept. 23 Fakfak election. The losers were angered after the court refused to review evidence they presented.

Said and Ali’s attorney Sira Prayona said his clients respected the court’s final and binding verdict, but maintained that it had undermined their sense of justice. He questioned why judges ignored evidence of vote rigging at 65 polling stations throughout the regency.

“The court should have checked not only the data presented by the General Elections Commission [KPU], but also information from polling stations and subdistrict election committees.

“[The court] should also have examined other supporting evidence from the regency and the local police who have been investigating the alleged vote rigging, which occurred during the KPUD’s plenary session,” he said.

During the plenary session, the KPUD announced the Uswanas-Donatus ticket had collected 24,744 votes, while the Said-Ali ticket received 11,573 votes.

According to the official vote count at 65 polling stations and the Fakfak KPUD, Uswanas-Donatus received only 9,096 votes, while Said-Ali got 13,142.

Fakfak KPUD head Markus Krispul was not available for comment on Wednesday, while Uswanas and Donatus said they would be sworn in by the governor on Friday.

The regent and deputy-elect called for the community to end friction and work together to help the regency.