Jokowi’s Short Meeting with Kendeng Farmers Ends in Tears

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(LEI/JakartaPost) – Gunarti, a farmer from Kendeng in Rembang, Central Java, who had participated in a rally since March 13 to protest the construction of a cement factory in the mountainous area, could not hide her disappointment upon hearing President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s response to aspirations they conveyed during their meeting at the State Palace on Wednesday.

“The President told me that it was not him who had the authority to issue a license [for the construction of the cement factory] but the governor,” Gunarti told The Jakarta Post, referring to Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo.

“He also told me not to report everything to him and instead asked me whether or not I had met with the governor,” she added.

Gunarti and her brother, Gunarso, had a chance to meet Jokowi as she and several other people with the Indigenous People’s Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN) were invited to meet the President at the palace on Wednesday.

Gunarti said she had expected to use the rare opportunity to greet Jokowi and tell him of her disappointment with Ganjar’s decision to reissue a license his administration had previously issued for state cement-maker Semen Indonesia to build a factory in Rembang.

Jokowi’s response to her complaint was a shock, she said.

“We have met our governor many times, but nothing has changed. That’s why we have been holding a rally in Jakarta for days. We hoped that the President, who holds the highest authority in this country, could make a positive difference,” Gunarti said, crying.

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