The Jakarta Post
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s son-in-law Bobby Afif Nasution, who is running in the 2020 Medan mayoral race in North Sumatra, has rebuffed assumptions suggesting that the First Family is on its way toward establishing yet another political dynasty in the country.
The husband of the President’s daughter Kahiyang Ayu — who recently registered with the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) for his mayoral bid — said his intention to join the race had nothing to do with building a political legacy under Jokowi’s name.
“If you say that [I am] building a political dynasty or power, I am not,” Bobby said on Tuesday, “If in the context of dynasty, it’s about [continuing] the spirit of enhancing development as shown by my father-in-law.”
Bobby said he realized he had not yet done anything for the city. However, he is optimistic that the program he has prepared could be positive for the city. "Just wait, I will explain how I am going to build the city.”
The 28-year-old property investor said he had approached several parties to back his mayoral bid, but he could not yet reveal the details. "Let’s just see how many parties will support me later," Bobby said.
The President’s son-in-law submitted on Dec. 3 his Medan mayoral candidate nomination forms to the PDI-P's North Sumatra branch, where it was received by PDI-P North Sumatra secretary Soetarto.
Soetarto said the party appreciated Bobby's registration and that all potential candidates would follow the same process.
In September, Bobby met with NasDem Party and Golkar party officials in Medan, but he has not registered with either party.
His move to join the regional race followed that of Jokowi’s eldest son Gibran Rakabuming Raka, who is currently seeking support from the PDI-P’s Central Java branch to run in the Surakarta mayoral race after the party’s Surakarta chapter turned down his nomination.
In October, Gibran visited PDI-P chairwoman Megawati Sukarnoputri at her residence on Jl. Teuku Umar, Central Jakarta, which many believed was aimed at securing his ticket for the upcoming mayoral race in Jokowi’s hometown.
Both regional elections will take place next year, and Bobby and Gibran appear to be following in Jokowi’s footsteps by eyeing the PDI-P — the party that brought the former Surakarta and Jakarta mayors to the country’s top post — as their political rides.
Despite Bobby’s rebuttal, analysts say his own nomination as a Medan mayoral candidate marked the emergence of Jokowi’s family as a political dynasty in the making, soon to be joining the children of former presidents Sukarno, Soeharto and Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
“People know that Jokowi is his father-in-law, so if Bobby says his nomination is not to build a political dynasty, it is counter-productive to the current reality," University of North Sumatra’s Political Science Program head Warjio told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.
Warjio said there was nothing wrong with Bobby or Gibran’s nomination, however, he noted that it was “problematic in terms of ethics”, as eventually such phenomena would lead to the formation of a ruling family that would dominate the government.
“As a result, many qualified figures will not have the opportunity to become leaders in their home regions,” Warjio said, “This is dangerous for the development of our growing democracy.”
He added that Bobby and Gibran’s nominations would strengthen assumptions that political dynasties were growing rapidly during Jokowi’s tenure.
"In the former presidents’ tenures, there was never a president’s child running for regional leadership. It’s only in Jokowi's administration that [a president’s] son and son-in-law are contesting the seats,” he said.
Gibran himself had previously denied that he was taking part in making Jokowi’s political dynasty by running for the Surakarta top post, saying his motivation was only to help people and that he would “have asked for a minister position” if it was really a dynasty in the making. (ggq)