Thursday, 13 September, 2012 | 20:04 WIB
T-Shirts, Souvenirs and a Different Kind of an Election Campaign
TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:Groups supporting candidate for Jakarta Governor, Joko Widodo, have been striving to maintain its lead in the race ahead of the second round of elections, slated for September 20. Just check out the Tirtonadi bus terminal in Solo, Central Java, where a girl named Rosa works.
Nuryadi, 30, who was on his way to Jakarta, gets off a bus for a short break. He is approached by Rosa, a young girl in a checkered top. “Are you heading to Jakarta, Sir?”
Nuryadi nodded. “Are you a Jakarta ID card holder, Sir?” asked the girl again, while handing a bottle of water to Nuryadi. He nods again. He obeyed the lady’s request to show her his ID card. It states that he is a resident of Rawamangun in East Jakarta. A few minutes later, Nuryadi smiled. “Please wear the Jokowi checkered shirt, Sir,” said Rosa, the young Jokowi volunteer, while handing him a package. She was referring to Joko Widodo.
Rosa is one among thousands of Jokowi volunteers using up their time during the yearly Islamic holidays to help with the elections. Their job is to hand out stickers, pins, T-shirts with a picture of Jokowi-Basuki, and checkered shirts. “This is also to thank those who keep supporting Jokowi,” said a private university student in Jakarta.
There are several handout posts. These volunteers were posted along the roads heading toward cities in Central Java. This includes Semarang, Salatiga, Tegal, Yogyakarta and Pemalang. The volunteers are posted at bus terminals, stations, airports, malls, and shopping centers.
Of course, these things are not handed out for free. The checkered shirt is only given to those who can prove that they are Jakarta’s citizens. However, if you were not a citizen of Jakarta, people will still receive stickers and pins with a picture of Joko Widodo.
The reaction has been quite staggering. Widhi D. Wicaksana, 31, a volunteer from Timuran, Solo, admitted he handed out almost 8,000 T-shirts. Clothing, stickers and pins were intentionally handed out in Solo. “They like Jokowi,” said Widhi. “Even when we handed things out in Tirtonadi, many formed queues for these gifts.”
This strategy proved to be accurate considering the brief campaigning term and the fact that Jokowi did not have a lot of time to act in Jakarta. Aside from his limited time, because he had to divide his attention between Jakarta and Surakarta, Jokowi was also bothered by the recent shootings and security disturbances in Solo. He even cancelled a trip to the capital city because he had to lead a meeting of regional heads after the terror acts took place in the city.
Like it or not, Jokowi’s efforts in maintaining his lead in the race will not be easy. According to Boy Sadikin, the leader of his success team, negative campaigning from other parties against Jokowi really struck down the Jokowi-Basuki pair.
The campaign team tried to overcome this situation through reaching out to the masses – with the use of Skype. The idea initially came from Jokowi so the issue of space and time would not block his communication with the areas where he was most popular.
This way was proven effective. From the backyard of his home in Solo where he set up a large screen, Jokowi was able to speak to the people of Condet and Menteng Dalam. In these areas, there were already cars moving around carrying laptops, screens, LCD projectors, and signal enhancers. For example, last Tuesday Jokowi had a dialog with the people of Condet, talking about their aspirations. Most of the target participants were university students and small citizens. “They fought over the microphone,” said Jokowi.
Up until last week, he had conducted six dialogs using Skype, including in Kebon Jeruk, Condet and Menteng Dalam. The locations were chosen based on the four criteria of target areas - which included areas that were known to be the strongholds of Fauzi’s supporters. There are also areas Jokowi has not managed to reach out to earlier, which he is focusing on now.
During a single session, around 200-400 people participated with an average duration of 15 minutes. Therefore, in one night, six to eight locations could actually be reached. However, he only had two units of equipment. “Yet it ws still effective because there was no traffic and I was able to hear all types of complaints,” said Jokowi.
The discussions revolved around current issues in Jakarta, including fires. Complaints regarding education, health, and other issues were also conveyed.
Toward the second round of elections, Jokowi-Basuki still relies on the backing of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra), plus tens of thousands of volunteers. The leader of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), Megawati Soekarnoputri, has instructed her cadres in regions to unconditionally support Jokowi. The cadres who are regional heads in Central Java, also members of the House of Representatives and the Regional Representatives Council, were requested to help. The request was conveyed several times when Megawati met with her cadres in Central Java. The Deputy Secretary of PDI-P, Hasto Kristiyanto, confirmed that fact.
According to Hasto, support for Jokowi was not limited to just handing out souvenirs at bus terminals. Help also came in the form of merely handing out drinks and food for sahur or breaking your fast during the Ramadhan holidays. Or, delivering basic needs to the citizens of Jakarta. “Before the first round of elections, there was aid from the people of Yogyakarta who sent in a truck filled with rice, sugar, coffee, and tea," said Hasto.
The Jokowi team also has a network of volunteers who claim that they amount to almost 50,000 people. The coordinator of these volunteers, Kris Budiharjo, said they have 495 supporting communities – from tutors, big bike motorcyclists, up to communities for the disabled. The volunteers who were recruited used a multilevel marketing scheme which was carefully selected. Aside from being invited to become witnesses at election voting booths, they were requested to keep their eyes and ears open for any negative campaigning against Jokowi.
Widiarsi Agustina, Bagja Hidayat, Ananda Teresia, Amandra Megarani