The Jakarta Post
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo defended his recent speech on Monday, which has stirred accusations of inciting hatred by his opponents, saying that he never intended to promote violence.
“I said [at that time] that our biggest asset is [the nation’s] unity. Therefore let us refrain from inciting hatred and mocking others.
“That was what [my speech] was about,” he said as quoted by kompas.com. “Please watch it [the speech] thoroughly and in context.”
He was referring to a controversial speech he made on Saturday during a national meeting with thousands of his supporters in Bogor, West Java.
In his speech, Jokowi urged his supporters, who have worked on his campaign since the 2014 presidential election, to avoid inciting hatred or making libelous statements to attack rival camps during the campaign.
But his statement, which called on his supporters to “take on the challenge to fight bravely”, immediately provoked accusations from his opponents, including the Gerindra Party who said it could be interpreted as a call to violence.
In his speech, Jokowi also used the word berantem, an Indonesian term that generally refers to a physical conflict between two or more individuals.
His controversial comment came just after the registration for presidential candidate pairs opened on Saturday.
Jokowi’s nomination has been officially announced but the candidacy of Gerindra’s presumptive presidential candidate, Prabowo Subianto, Jokowi’s rival in 2014, is yet to be confirmed. Neither Jokowi nor Prabowo have named running mates. (ipa)