Unspun was one of those people rooting for Jokowi when he was contesting against Prabowo in the presidential elections. Not because he was the best of candidates but he was the better candidate in terms of integrity.
That alone held out hope that he might be able to change Indonesia, because for sure a figure like Prabowo that reeks of Order Baru would certainly not.
So when Jokowi got voted in, like many in Indonesia Unspun cheered. Unseen cheered again when he started his administration with fresh faces like Ibu Susi and Jonan. After all, did they not have track records of starting businesses and setting Keretapi Indonesia back on the right track?
And it went well for a little while and Unspun cheered. Then things started to go awry. Jokowi started making funny decisions – the destruction of neighbouring countries’ illegal fishing vessels, imposing the death penalty…and then the KPK-Police issue flared.
Like many in Indonesia Unspun was disappointed with his initial reaction, which was to equivocate. But the eternal optimist, Unspun still held out hopes for Jokowi.
Unlike most people Unspun, through counselling business leaders in crisis situations, could appreciate what a difficult place he was in, hemmed in on all sides by Megawati, Surya Paloh, Jusuf Kalla, his recently disillusioned supporters and the Police and the KPK.
In the previous posting Unspun suggested that the supporters should perhaps try to pressure the Police and the KPK instead to follow procedures. It would give Jokowi room to manoeuvre.
Then there was today’s interview with Kompas TV.
It was a disaster. He appeared unsure, tentative, had no mastery of the subject at hand and not only did not say anything substantial he did not even look the part of a decisive leader appealing for patience as he resolved things.
He fumbled and hummed and hawed even when he was asked softball questions. In short Jokowi shows all signs that he’s lost the plot.
Whomever is advising him is doing a very bad job at it. One never puts out the spokesperson without preparing him for it by doing dry runs, anticipating the questions that he’ll be facing and rehearsing, rehearsing and rehearsing until he can not only deliver the message, but deliver it in a persuasive manner.
It is time that Jokowi realises that how a president performs in public will determine how the public thinks of him, and can make the difference whether people continue to believe in him.
If he or his advisors have even half a brain at all they would turn to professional advisors and trainers in interview techniques. The nation has lots of qualified media trainers. If they don’t do this it may sooner than later cost them the Presidency.
Then we’d be back to business as usual with the Corrupt holding sway over everything.