Sita W Dewi and Nethy Dharma Somba, The Jakarta Post, Jayapura | Archipelago | Sat, April 05 2014, 4:38 PM


Indonesia Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) presidential candidate Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is spending the last weekend of the open campaign period visiting the easternmost island of Papua, showing his commitment to native Papuans.

The Jakarta governor first stopped in Sorong, West Papua, to refuel his chartered airplane and visited a traditional market in the city. He later continued onto Jayapura, Papua, and went straight to Youtefa market in Abepura to meet with the locals.

As usual, Jokowi was welcomed like a celebrity.

“I saw it with my very own eyes, Jokowi is willing to meet with the people at traditional markets, unlike any other president. Papuans want him,” Linda Sanyi, a local resident, said. Another native Papuan shared the sentiment.

“I want him to become president. He goes to traditional markets so he understands people like us,” Berlin Wadi, a vendor, said.

Jokowi, who was heavily guarded by dozens of police, took his time talking to the vendors and also brought home vegetables and smoked fish.

He later spoke before thousands of PDI-P supporters at the PTC field.

“No presidential candidate has come here before, but I did, because the sun rises in the east, in Papua,” said Jokowi, to a cheering audience.

He also promised Papuans that he would make Papua his priority once he was elected president.

“I understand that Papua’s problems should be solved with heart, with real work. I’m not going to promise you too many things, but Papua’s resources should be used for Papuans’ own well-being,” Jokowi said.

He also expressed his optimism that the PDI-P would seize a  landslide victory in Papua.