Corruptors, generals and activists prominent in new Gerindra leadership

Berita Satu – July 12, 2012
Subianto (middle), Suhardi (right) and Ahmad Muzani (left) attend 4th Gerindra anniversary in Jakarta (Antara)
Subianto (middle), Suhardi (right) and Ahmad Muzani (left) attend 4th Gerindra anniversary in Jakarta (Antara)

Ezra Sihite/Rizky Amelia/Ulin Yusron – It’s not just Ahok that has been brought into the central leadership board, but scores of retired generals have also joined the ranks of the Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra Party) elite. In addition to this, there are family members and activists.

Gerindra is very happy at the moment. The candidates they backed along with the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) in the Jakarta gubernatorial election – Joko Widodo as governor and Basuki Tjahaja Purnama alias Ahok as deputy governor – have won the first round of the election.

Ahok’s decision to leave the House of Representatives and the party he previously defended, the Golkar Party, has proved to be the correct one. Ahok was chosen by the Gerindra Party who accommodated and pushed him to become candidate for the Jakarta gubernatorial election.

Within the structure of the Gerindra Party’s new central leadership board resulting form the party’s extraordinary congress on March 17, according to a leak obtain by Berita Satu, Ahok has been rewarded with the position of chairperson for political and state affairs.

Ahok is nestled in between a leadership numbering 314 people. Of this, 99 are women. This exceeds the quota set by the 2009 election law requiring a party’s central leadership board to have a minimum composition of 30 percent women.

A document obtained by Berita Satu also cites scores of retired generals from various wings of the TNI (Indonesian military) and national police as being members of the party’s board of patrons. These include, among others, retired Lieutenant General (Mar) Suharto, retired Rear Admiral Moekhlas Sidik, retired Major General Glenny Kairupan, retired Major General Johnny Wahab, retired Major General Mahidin Simbolon, retired air force Brigadier General Mutanto Juwono, retired Major General Soenarko and retired police Inspector General Tommy Jakobus.

The other board of patrons members are former prominent Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) leaders Haryanto Taslam and Permadi. Other interesting figures among the ranks of the advisory board are Major General Chairawan, the former commander of the Sandi Yudha Group 4 from the Army’s elite Special Forces Kopassus, who was in charge of the Rose Team (Tim Mawar) that was responsible for the abduction of pro-democracy activists between May 1997 and March 1998. Chairawan is the chairperson of the security and national resilience division.

The advisory board is headed up by Major General Haryadi Darmawan with a membership including former Bank Indonesia governor Sudrajat Djiwandono, a former convicted criminal jailed for corruption involving Bank Indonesia Liquidity Support Scheme (BLBI) funds.

The board of experts is chaired by former Bank Indonesia governor Burhanuddin Abdullah, also a former convicted criminal jailed for corruption over the misuse of Indonesian Banking Development Institute (YPPI) funds totalling 100 billion rupiah. Also quite striking in the board of expert’s lineup is the inclusion of former labour and transmigration minister Erman Soeparno. In addition to this the secretary general of the Indonesian Farmers Association (HKTI), Rahmat Pambudi, is also included in the board of expert’s lineup.

From activist and non-government organisation circles is the former director of the Jakarta Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) Irianto Subiakto, who is listed as the head of the human rights department. Agus Jabo Priyono, the general chairperson of the People’s Democratic Party (PRD) holds the post of chairperson for potential election mapping.

Meanwhile long-term board members who were once victims of the activist abductions by Kopassus in 1997-98, namely Desmond J. Mahesa and Pius Lustrilanang remain in the ranks of the new central leadership board.

The shakeup of the new Gerindra central leadership board was initially leaked to the mass media by technology affairs chairperson Fami Fahrudin. A number of long-term leadership board members have been replaced by scores of generals. Tensions within the new leadership board resulting from the extraordinary congress have already resulted in casualties with the resignation of one of the party’s founding members and deputy chairperson Halida Hatta.

Gerindra Secretary General Ahmad Muzani stated that the change in Gerindra’s central leadership board was the result of the extraordinary congress, which gave a mandate to the sole leader designate, board of patron’s chairperson Prabowo Subianto. “There are names that been promoted, there have been additions, there have been demotions, all of the demotions were done with the prerogative consideration of the board of patrons chairperson”, said Muzani.

The most prominent members of the Gerindra’s new central leadership board are the scores of generals. The inclusion of these retired generals, according to a Berita Satu source, was the trigger for the internal rift within Gerindra.

In addition to the generals, tensions were also caused by the many leadership board members who are part of Subianto’s extended family. There are even leadership board members who are mother and child, or father and child. “The chairperson of the board of patrons has subjective and objective grounds for promoting and dismissing anyone in accordance with the congress”, said Muzandi.

New Gerindra Party central leadership board lineup:

  • Board of patrons chairperson: Prabowo Subianto
  • Advisory board chairperson: Major General Haryadi Darmawan
  • Board of experts chairperson: Burhanuddin Abdullah
  • Central leadership board general chairperson: Suhardi
  • Deputy chairperson for political and security affairs: Fadli Zon
  • Deputy chairperson for people’s welfare: Ny. Sumarjati Arjoso
  • Deputy chairperson for financial affairs and national development: Edhy Prabowo
  • Deputy chairperson for economic affairs: Murphy Hutagalung
  • Deputy chairperson for organisation and membership affairs: Widjono Hardjanto


Many of the retired military officers in the new central leadership board have controversial backgrounds: Lieutenant General (Mar) Suharto is a former Marine corps commander credited with bringing the May 1988 riots in Jakarta under control; Major General Glenny Kairupan served as deputy sub-regional military command commander in East Timor in the mid-1990s and managed the anti-independence militia program as ‘security advisor’ to Major General Zacky Makarim during the East Timor independence referendum; Major General Johnny Wahab was the regional military commander in Aceh when the province was designated a military operations zone; Major General Mahidin Simbolon is a former West Papua military commander who served six tours of duty in East Timor and was a key actor in the military campaign of state-sponsored terror against the East Timorese; Major General Soenarko is a former Kopassus commander who in 2009 headed the Aceh regional military command and has been accused of playing a role in politically-motivated assassinations in the 2009 elections; Inspector General Tommy Jakobus is a former West Papua police chief. Suharto’s former son-in-law and Kopassus commander Prabowo Subianto, along with Chairawan and Gerindra Party founding member Muchdi Purwoprandjono (accused of masterminding the murder of human rights activist Munir) were dismissed from the Kopassus leadership in August 1998 over the abduction of pro-democracy activists in 1997-98, although no charges have ever been brought against the three.

[Pengurus Baru Gerindra: 314 Pengurus, Puluhan Jenderal dan Aktivis – Kamis, 12 Juli 2012. Translated by James Balowski.]