Papua – In contrast to the perspectives of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) and ULMWP, which reject the Indonesian elections in Papua, several Papuan traditional leaders have expressed their support for active participation in the democratic process.
According to them, elections present an opportunity for the Papuan people to actively exercise their rights and sovereignty, differing from the opinions of Ones Suhuniap and Benny Wenda.
One of the traditional figures opposing this stance is Yusen Tabuni, a community figure in Jayawijaya Regency. He emphasized that elections are an integral part of the democratic system, granting Papuans the right to choose their leaders and contribute to regional development.
“Participation in elections is a means for the Papuan people to cast their votes for leaders capable of representing their interests and aspirations. Elections constitute a crucial moment to uphold democracy and mandate elected leaders,” stated Tabuni.
Not only Tabuni, but the Tabi – Saireri traditional figure, Herman Yoku, also expressed his endorsement for the elections. According to him, participating in elections is an effective way to bring about positive change and advocate for the rights of the Papuan people at the national level.
“Through elections, we have the opportunity to elect our representatives who will subsequently champion the rights and interests of the Papuan people at the national level. This represents a constructive step towards the change we desire,” Yoku remarked.
These traditional leaders emphasized that elections could serve as a platform for the Papuan people to voice their opinions and contribute to the development of their region. They encourage the Papuan people to exercise their right to vote as a means of shaping a better future.
Despite differences in views among Papuan community leaders, participation in elections is considered a positive step towards the change desired by the community. In an atmosphere of pluralism and democracy, it is hoped that Papuan people’s votes in the elections will inspire representatives who can effectively represent the needs and aspirations of the Papuan people at the national level.
They questioned the unilateral claims of two organizations representing the Papuan people but strongly advocating for a boycott of the elections. As stated by Ones Suhuniap, who even claimed that democracy in Papua is “fake” and “does not educate the democratic ethics of Papuan morality,” this perspective does not align with human rights.
“In fact, elections in Indonesia provide equal voting rights to all citizens, including Papuans,” he concluded.
Another controversial statement, namely Ones saying that the Papuan vote is not significant in elections with a population of 1,500 people, is a derogatory generalization. “The voice of every citizen, including Papuans, has equal weight in the democratic process, so don’t underestimate the voices of Papuans,” he stressed.