FX Hadi ‘Rudy’ Rudyatmo
Jokowi’s former mayoral deputy, Rudy, 53, who is now Surakarta mayor, is undoubtedly the primary person behind Jokowi’s success and rise to prominence.
After being turned down by the Democratic Party, the National Mandate Party (PAN) and the Muslim-based Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), Jokowi was prompted by Rudy to join the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) to contest the Surakarta mayoral election in 2005.
As head of the PDI-P Surakarta chapter, Rudy had a huge support base that enabled the pair to reform the city, a hotbed of Islamic extremism.
With such widespread influence, Rudy also played a key role in the successful relocation of Surakarta’s street vendors in 2009 and the clamping down on prostitution and thuggery on the city’s streets and parks.
While paired with Jokowi, Rudy assumed challenging tasks like dealing with people from the grass roots, as well as guiding Jokowi, particularly in his dealing with the media. He also helped Jokowi in terms of organization and political management.
“I would point out things if he said something wrong. In fact, I still do so,” said Rudy, who continues to assist Jokowi with relocating street vendors in Jakarta and other issues.
“When it came to a separation of our jobs, I didn’t consider there were any strict lines at the time. We performed our tasks in terms of who we were: public servants,” said Rudy, who is known as a confidant of PDI-P chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri.
He was also the driving force behind the construction of the Esemka national car by students of the city’s vocational engineering school. The Esemka car was widely publicized to popularize Jokowi ahead of his candidacy for the Jakarta gubernatorial election in 2012.
When asked whether he would be running in the upcoming 2015 mayoral election, Rudy said it would be better if he withdrew from his executive function and focus on managing the party.
Jokowi’s pairing with Ahok during the 2012 Jakarta gubernatorial election was, initially, a forced marriage.
Jokowi said that he had known Ahok before 2012, but was told that Ahok would be his running mate only a day prior to registering as a gubernatorial candidate.
Ahok, then a Golkar Party politician, jumped ship to the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) in exchange for a spot on the ticket with Jokowi.
A source at the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) has claimed that Jokowi initially nixed the idea of running with Ahok, wanting instead to partner with celebrity Deddy Mizwar (now West Java deputy governor), whose popularity would help garner votes, particularly from devout Muslim communities.
The choice, however, was in the hands of PDI-P chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri and Gerindra patron Prabowo Subianto, and Jokowi had no other option than to comply with their request.
But it didn’t take long for Jokowi and Ahok to mesh. Each has a governing style that complements the other’s, with Jokowi playing the good cop boss and Ahok his loyal bad-cop deputy.
“During meetings, the governor usually briefs me and then I carry out his instructions accordingly,” Ahok said.
While Jokowi presents himself as a “soft leader”, Ahok has not hesitated to be blunt and bold, such as when he threatened to file a lawsuit against illegal street vendors in the Tanah Abang market, the largest textile center in Southeast Asia, if they opposed the city’s plan to relocate them.
For Jokowi, Ahok has become an ideal partner with a proven ability to get things done.
“Pak deputy focuses on internal matters: He handles implementation after I make a decision or policy. He is the one who summons the agency heads and leads the meetings — something that I’m not as well suited for,” said Jokowi.
“My job is to meet with the people in the field, to check on problems and make policies and decisions that will be included in the city budget.”
Despite different styles and roles, both of them share the same spotlight and Jokowi has never seen Ahok as a threat to his popularity.
“We have our own jobs. Most pairings make the mistake of not dividing the workload because they have their own agendas: They have political and economic interests. We never talk about such interests, and we’ve never had a fight,” said Jokowi.
Sumartono, born Khoe Liong Haow, is an entrepreneur-turned-philanthropist who is active in more than 19 social organizations engaged in helping people in distress.
He is usually present at relief efforts such as helping victims of floods, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, blood drives at the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI), or distributing food aid and school fees for low-income families.
Sumartono, believed by locals to be Surakarta’s second-most influential figure after Mayor FX Hadi “Rudy” Rudyatmo, was among Jokowi’s first supporters when the largely unknown furniture businessman opted to run for mayor of Surakarta in 2005.
“I didn’t know Jokowi before the mayoral election, but I knew Rudy for a very long time. I was surprised when Jokowi came to my house to share his vision of developing Surakarta,” recalled Sumartono.
“My first impression of Jokowi was that he was a very low-profile and honest figure. I believed at the time that Jokowi and Rudy would have all the sincerity necessary to lead the city. That’s why I eventually decided to support them.”
Sumartono is still active in providing advice to Jokowi, but has always tried to avoid bothering the governor.
“He always picks up my phone calls,” he said.
“Although I’ve helped him with his campaign by persuading my friends to support him, I’ve never asked for any projects from him.”
“But if there is someone who wants to help with certain projects or provide input I will help them contact Jokowi, including big companies that want to engage in corporate social responsibility [CSR] programs,” he said.
Anggit, 48, a veteran journalist, was first contacted by Jokowi a few months before the Surakarta mayoral election in 2005.
“I didn’t know him at first. He invited me to his home and we had a general discussion. During a second meeting, he conveyed his intention to become a candidate for mayor, and asked me to join his campaign team,” he said.
Anggit later helped Jokowi with his campaigning, specifically regarding media relations.
“I conducted simple polls to determine the most effective way to introduce Jokowi to the public and to promote his programs. It turned out that face-to-face meetings were the most effective way for Jokowi to understand local people’s aspirations,” he said.
With this strategy, Anggit helped to initiate Jokowi’s now-trademark impromptu visits, known locally as blusukan.
Now installed in Jakarta, Jokowi has continued to trust Anggit with external communication affairs, media relations and other issues outside the office.
“We talk about many things, including private matters. Pak Jokowi shares his thoughts during our private discussions,” said Anggit, who also assists Jokowi with developing programs for the city and, on occasion, gathers experts to formulate certain policies and strategies.
During their discussions, Jokowi often came up with ideas for new city programs or campaigns.
“It was a day before Pak Jokowi registered with the KPU [General Elections Commission], when we came up with the checked-shirt idea,” he said.
“We were thinking about what to wear for our visit to the KPU. I saw him wearing a checked shirt and he looked dynamic and fresh in it. So I told him, why not wear that?” Anggit recalled.
Jokowi agreed, so the two of them, along with Jokowi’s personal assistant, went to several markets to find the best color.
The checked shirt became instantly recognizable during Jokowi’s election campaign in 2012.
- Sita W. Dewi and Kusumasari Ayuningtyas
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