Understanding Jokowi's inner circle

Understanding Jokowi's inner circle

Presidential candidate Joko "Jokowi" Widodo does not trust people easily. This trait and his knack at reading people based on first impressions, comes from years of bittersweet experience as a businessman and politician.

This trait is further supported by his limited number of close aides during his terms in Surakarta, Central Java, as mayor; and in Jakarta as governor.

Among his closest aides is Anggit Noegroho, 49, a veteran journalist from Jokowi's hometown of Solo, which Surakarta is also called.

Anggit, one of the founders of the Joglo Semar daily, has been by Jokowi's side since he first ran for Surakarta mayor in 2005. He was on Jokowi's mayoral campaign team and has remained in his inner circle ever since.

As a journalist, Anggit is known for upholding the principals of fair and impartial reporting. When he founded Joglo Semar, he forbade his journalists from accepting money or gifts from sources and raised the basic wage in compensation.

Jokowi entrusts Anggit with the management of external communication affairs.

In an interview with The Jakarta Post, Anggit said conversation between the two did always centre on work-related matters.

"When it is just the two of us, we share our deepest thoughts, views and opinions," he said.

Many believe that Jokowi's media savvy comes from this long-term relationship.

Anggit encouraged Jokowi's trademark initiatives, such as his blusukan (impromptu visits).

Anggit leads a team of Surakartans, who have worked behind-the-scenes for Jokowi for a long time. They work separately from the Indonesia Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P)-led campaign team.

The media gave them the nickname "Team Solo".

Members of Team Solo preferred to stay under the radar and have shrunk away from media on the campaign trail. They are rarely seen around Jokowi, but are always present during campaign events.

One member said that the team was currently focused on consolidating volunteers across the archipelago and media relations.

"We fly separately [from Jokowi's entourage] and we just get things done. It's more efficient," one team member, who declined to be named, said.

One member of Team Solo is Devid Agus, a 30-year-old civil servant who has served as Jokowi's personal assistant since his time in Surakarta.

Devid worked in Japan for a few years before returning to his hometown of Surakarta to become a civil servant, before eventually becoming Jokowi's personal assistant.

Jokowi brought him with him to Jakarta after he won the Jakarta gubernatorial election in 2012 and entrusted him with his schedule.

In addition to Team Solo, Jokowi has been accompanied by a number of experts, hailing from different backgrounds, throughout the campaign trail.

Among them are former University of Indonesia (UI) defence expert Andi Widjajanto; anticorruption activist-turned-politician Teten Masduki; and Centre of Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) defence and military expert Alexandra Retno Wulan.

Elites from the coalition's member parties, including the NasDem Party's Akbar Faisal and National Awakening Party's (PKB) Marwan Jafar have occasionally been seen among Jokowi's entourage during the campaign.

PDI-P politicians sporadically seen accompanying Jokowi were Rieke Diah Pitaloka and Maruarar Sirait. (tjs)

Andi Widjajanto

For former University of Indonesia (UI) academic Andi Widjajanto, 43, joining the Joko "Jokowi" Widodo-Jusuf Kalla campaign team was about fulfilling his late father's wish.

The late Theo Syafei, PDI-P top brass and a confidant to party chief patron Megawati Soekarnoputri, conveyed his last request to Andi: Help Megawati and the PDI-P win the 2014 elections.

"I couldn't refuse," Andi told The Jakarta Post, recently.

"I resigned from my position as a civil servant after Ibu Mega tasked me with assisting Pak Jokowi during the legislative election campaign, because I would no longer be neutral," he said.

Initially, Andi was summoned by Megawati to join a team that brought together 11 academics from various backgrounds, dubbed "Team 11".

Among the members were lawyer Alexander Lay, Gadjah Mada University (UGM) political expert Ari Dwipayana, Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) political analyst Rizal Sukma and UI defence expert Edy Prasetyono.

"We were tasked with presenting academic views and supporting data for the 2014 presidential election. In November-December 2013, we focused on preparing Pak Jokowi to be a presidential candidate. The Team 11 was disbanded in March 2014 but regrouped again in a new team called 'Guyub' [United]."

"There were additional members. Myself and [campaign deputy secretaries] Teten Masduki and Akbar Faisal were later assigned to support Pak Jokowi during the legislative campaign," he said, adding that later he formally joined the campaign team as secretary.

Andi acknowledged that the team was involved in the compilation of the Jokowi-Kalla manifesto, which was submitted to the General Elections Commission (KPU).

Andi said he did not know what he would do after the election and clearly stated he had not been promised a particular position should Jokowi win the election.

"I am an academic. I miss academia," he said.

Teten Masduki

Eight months ago, PDI-P matron Megawati Soekarnoputri requested the help of graft activist Teten Masduki, 51, to form an independent team of academic advisors for the presidential election.

After Joko "Jokowi" Widodo was declared the party's candidate, Teten was asked to advise the non-active Jakarta governor on different matters, from trash management to the energy sector.

Teten was first acquainted to Joko "Jokowi" Widodo four years previously when the former Surakarta mayor was given the Bung Hatta Anti-Corruption Award.

"I was the founder and in order to get the award, candidates had to be assessed by an independent jury," Teten explained.

He said that Jokowi had instigated budgetary reform, whether from an anticorruption standpoint or in terms of public welfare improvement.

"I saw that real change was happening in the regions," he told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.

"I support Jokowi because I know he is committed to change. The country's [main] problem is the oligarchy. We will never progress as long as we don't know how to get rid of the elite," Teten said.

As an anticorruption activist, Teten vowed to continue pressing for change should Jokowi not make good on his promises.

Teten said he had entered politics because he was convinced that the work he and his fellow activists did paid off. He was an outspoken opponent of the Soeharto government and was openly critical of the dictator until his downfall in 1998.

"I didn't subscribe to a political party, but I was involved in a social movement that brought about a lot of change," he said.

Teten studied chemistry in college and later became a high school teacher. In 1985, he joined a demonstration staged by local farmers whose land had been stolen. This was to be his formal entry into the world of activism.

"I fight because politics is a battle," he said.

In 1998, Teten founded the Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW), which has since become a household name in the fight against corruption.

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