Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Papua Governor Jacobus Perviddya Solossa dies

Papua Governor Jacobus Perviddya Solossa, who intended to stand for re-election next month as a candidate of Golkar Party, has died at the age of 57. Doctors said the probable cause of death was a heart attack, but Solossa’s supporters suspect he was poisoned, claiming he was healthy and had no history of heart problems. Solossa was born on 19 May 1948, in Mefkajim village, part of Ayamaru district in Papua’s Bird’s Head peninsula. He spent most of his professional life in the bureaucracy and politics, although he was also a keen sportsman. He jogged every morning and regularly played golf, tennis and badminton. He is survived by his wife Emma and their two children Eka Solossa (22) and Aquino Solossa (21). Both of the children are currently studying at Jayapura’s Cendrawasih University. He is also survived by his brother, Yakominas Solossa, who is head of Ayamaru district.

Solossa had been a strong proponent of the special autonomy that was granted to Papua under a law passed by former president Megawati Sukarnoputri in October 2001. After the law was passed, Megawati implemented a controversial 1999 law that divided Papua into three provinces – Papua, West Irian Jaya and Central Irian Jaya - which many locals saw as a betrayal of the special autonomy legislation. The Constitutional Court in 2004 overturned the controversial law, but said West Irian Jaya would remain a separate province because it had already been established in line with constitutional requirements.

Solossa had plenty of political opponents, Roy Tupai commented at Laksamana.net. One of them was former West Irian Jaya governor, retired Brigadier General Abraham Octavianus Atururi, who had once served as one of the Papua’s three co-deputy governors. After Solossa became governor in 2000, he eliminated two of the deputy governor positions in order to sideline Atururi. But Atururi, who had argued that development was better than autonomy, went on to become West Irian Jaya governor, only to be stripped of the position under a court ruling.

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