Website counter

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Role of KIPP in Indonesian Democratization

The Role of KIPP in Indonesian Democratization

by: Prof Yamada Mitsuru
Faculty of Social Sciences, Toyo Eiwa University, Japan

From the end of 1980s, new NGOs promoted Indonesian democratization, including “Free and Fair general elections.” KIPP was established on the fifteenth of March, in 1996 under the authoritarian Soeharto’s regime and was first election monitoring in Indonesia. KIPP was comprised of more than thirty NGOs that were in turn composed of independent journalists, activists for democratization, students, religious groups, laborers, and professionals. 

Prof. Yamada and me in the front of Capital Hotel Inn, Kabul, Afghanistan, August 2009.
We joined Election Observation Mission of Afghanistan Presidential Election 2009

KIPP has been against pro-Suharto organizations such as Golongan Karya (Functional Groups) from the military, bureaucrats, and others which had practiced the unjust, illegal and corrupt election. KIPP tried to realize “free and fair” elections by developing voter education nationwide. However, the democratization activities of KIPP were interrupted and restricted by the Soeharto government through unjust arrest and intimidation. That is why KIPP found it difficult to recruit election volunteers, just before the 1997 general election, the sociopolitical situations changed. Around 12,000 election volunteers participated in this election, from forty seven cities in sixteen provinces. As a result, KIPP became famous as election monitoring NGO in Indonesia. 

KIPP was supported by NAMFREL, AEC (Australian Election Committee), IFES, FES (Friedrich Ebert Stiftung in German), and other organizations with regard to election skills, election training, and so on. FNS (Friedrich Nauman Stiftung in German), NDI (National Democratic Institute), USAID, TAF (The Asia Foundation), and others supported with financial assistance and provided the opportunity for KIPP staff to participate in elections in Bangladesh, the Philippines, Cambodia, Thailand, Australia, US, Finland and the EU respectively.

KIPP members could learn about election systems, election procedures, democratic systems, voter education and other issues because they received many opportunities and forms of support from international NGOs and the international community. Therefore, KIPP became the core member of ANFREL in 1997 as mentioned above. 

The mission of KIPP was to ensure free, fair, and democratic elections in Indonesia. KIPP had three objectives in its election monitoring operation: firstly, to encourage large-scale participation of voters in the election: secondly, to detect election fraud, manipulations, and irregularities: and thirdly, to detect and report election fraud and irregularities, should they occur.

These missions and objectives were influenced by NAMFREL. KIPP prepared many volunteer election observers for the 1999 general election. At this time, it put their capacity training into practice for election procedures and skills nationwide. On the other hand, KIPP completed voter education in every district in cooperation with other domestic NGOs. As a result, 227 KIPP branches were established in 25 provinces and about 260,000 election volunteers were registered before the 1999 general election. Moreover, related organizations such as KIPP Students Branch, KIPP Campus Branch, KIPP Artist Branch, and Women Activist Group from 74 organizations under the Indonesian Women Congress were organized as election monitoring volunteers. In the end, KIPP even recruited volunteers from becak drivers, laborers, vendors, and villagers belonged to the marginal urban community.

Finally, many domestic and international observers besides KIPP participated in the 1999 Indonesian general election. But other big scale domestic organizations such as University President Forum (named Rector Forum), UNFREL (the University Network for Free and Fair Elections), and other small groups – encompassing around 300,000 observers – were permitted to be official election monitoring organizations. And around 600 international observers from international NGOs and foreign governments also participated in this Indonesian election.


No comments:

Post a Comment