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Ill Papua governor banned from treatment

Spokesperson Rifai Darus said Governor Enembe's home is being closely guarded by thousands of people, including his close relatives

Governor Enembe undergoing medical treatment. He's believed to be the target of an Indonesian power struggle over Indigenous administrations in Papua (Pacific Pos)
Governor Enembe undergoing medical treatment. He's believed to be the target of an Indonesian power struggle over Indigenous administrations in Papua (Pacific Pos)

| Asia Pacific Review | Edited

AUCKLAND - Governor Lukas Enembe of Indonesia’s Papua Province has been banned from travelling abroad, preventing him from undergoing vital medical treatment in the Philippines.

It is believed the popular governor of Melanesian Papua is the target of an Indonesian power struggle over Indigenous administrations in the region.

Governor Enembe, 55, was due to go to Manila this month, however, he has been prevented by the Indonesian Directorate General of Immigration, Ministry of Law and Human Rights.

The order banning any overseas trip by Governor Enembe until 7 March 2023 was issued in response to a Corruption Eradication Commission request to ban the governor from any overseas trip.

Enembe’s lawyer, Stevanus Roy Rening, said the governor was due to leave for his medical treatment last Monday.

“The governor said, ‘Roy, I’m sick. I have got permission from the Minister of Home Affairs.

“I said, ‘Sir, not yet, please delay! There is a letter from the KPK for you to attend on Monday’”.

Rening was worried that if Enembe left for treatment abroad on Monday, public opinion would form that he had run away.

“[He replied], ‘Roy, I am the leader of the Papuans. I’ve never been afraid, I’ve never corrupted’,” Rening said.

Enembe’s personal physician, Dr Antonius Mote, said the governor was still ill.

According to Dr Mote, in the last six months the governor began to experience several illnesses such as stroke, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and kidney complications.

He has routinely undergone check-ups in hospitals in Singapore and Manila, Philippines.

“We really ask for his right to get medical treatment abroad,” said Dr Mote. “The pressure he experienced could worsen his health condition.”

In response to the request from Enembe’s lawyer Rening for treatment overseas, the Deputy Chair of KPK, Alexander Marwata, said this would be facilitated with certain conditions.

Marwata gave the governor an option to seek treatment at the Army Central Hospital or Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital in Jakarta.

“If the disease can be treated in Indonesia, why do you have to go abroad?,” said Marwata.

Marwata said a doctor would decide whether Enembe could be treated in Indonesia or must go abroad for treatment.

If doctors in Indonesia “raised their hands”, he said, the KPK would grant Enembe permission to go abroad for treatment.

Rening said the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) seemed to be trying to find a case of alleged corruption involving Governor Enembe.

“During his [leadership] period, all audit results have been vetted by the Supreme Audit Agency. There was no element of corruption found,” said Rening.

The governor’s spokesperson, Rifai Darus, said the governor’s home was still being closely guarded by thousands of people and close relatives of Enembe.

“He asked not to have too many people there and asked them to return to their homes. These people came alone, without being asked, after seeing the information circulating on social media regarding the ‘criminalisation’ of the governor,” said Darus.

He added that the governor had also said the ongoing legal process was a “political struggle” and asked not to “politicise the situation”.

“He knows very well that the current situation is a process of ‘criminalising’ him by making the KPK the ‘front’ to deal with this case.

“The Governor has the right as stated in the 1945 Constitution Article 48a  that everyone has the right to live and defend his life,” said Darus.

The president of the Communion of Baptist Churches in West Papua, Dr Socratez Yoman, revealed to news media that the KPK had three times tried to criminalise Governor Enembe.

“There have been people who have felt that the presence of Governor Enembe is a threat and obstacle for other political parties to become ‘number one’ in Papua province,” Dr Yoman said.

He said there was no other way to “destroy the strong fortress” of Governor Enembe, so the KPK was being used by certain political parties to ‘criminalise’ Enembe.

“How come state institutions can become tools for certain political parties,” Dr Yoman quoted Governor Enembe as saying.

He appealed for support and prayers for Governor Enembe and his family.

Laurens Ikinia is a Papuan Masters in Communication Studies student at Auckland University of Technology who has been studying journalism. He contributes to Asia Pacific Report


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