Debunking the False Narrative: President Joko Widodo’s Alleged Ties to the PKI

In the era of rapid information sharing and social media, false narratives can spread like wildfire. One such narrative that has resurfaced recently pertains to President Joko Widodo, often referred to as Jokowi. The claim suggests that Jokowi is the offspring of a prominent figure within the Indonesian Communist Party (Partai Komunis Indonesia, or PKI) named Notomihardjo. This assertion has gained traction through a video shared on Facebook by an account named “Ezra Doank,” accompanied by a subtitle that reads: “Jokowi’s Identity Revealed From His Own Words: He is the Child of Noto Mihardjo, PKI Figure from 1965, Guard of DN Aidit. PKI, the Murderer of the People, Murderer of Islamic Students, Murderer of Scholars, and Murderer of Nine Generals.”

The video snippet showcases a moment where Jokowi is officiating the marriage ceremony of his sister, Idayati. Since its release on Sunday (August 6, 2023) until Tuesday (August 8, 2023), this post has garnered 386,000 views, along with 4,100 emoji reactions and 2,600 comments. But the question remains: Is Jokowi truly the descendant of a PKI figure, and who is Notomihardjo?

Jokowi is the offspring of Widjiatno Notomihardjo and Sudjiatmi, according to widely available information. An investigation by the Tirto research team reveals that Jokowi and his siblings (Iit Sriyantini, Ida Yati, and Titik Relawati) were born during the time when Notomihardjo and Sudjiatmi resided in Solo. Addressing the claim of Notomihardjo’s connection to PKI, a Historia article titled “PKI Issue Surrounding Jokowi” from April 11, 2019, comes to light. This article argues that after the September 30, 1965, incident, Notomihardjo and Sudjiatmi were not targeted by the military. It states, “This occurred because they were not involved in the events of September 30, 1965. If indeed they were PKI figures, it would be a clear anomaly.”

Historically, the era following the September 30th incident saw rampant persecution of individuals associated with the PKI, extending to even non-communist professionals who were involved in events organized by the PKI. In Solo, the residence of Notomihardjo and Sudjiatmi, there was a widespread crackdown on PKI members. Solo became an area stained with blood, marking the birth of the New Order regime.

According to Tirto, the families of Sudjiatmi and Widjiatno lived in Cinderejo Lor, a village labeled “red” during the Soekarno era. They also resided near Kali Pepe and Kalianyar. Notably, some neighbors of Sudjiatmi and Notomihardjo were reportedly apprehended by the New Order authorities. However, there was no reason for the New Order to arrest Sudjiatmi and Notomihardjo. The skewed narrative regarding Jokowi’s PKI lineage is not new; it previously emerged during the Presidential Elections of 2014 and 2019. This claim was debunked by the fact-checking agency Tempo.

Jokowi himself has vehemently denied this issue. As reported by CNN Indonesia on January 9, 2019, he stated that the claim of his family’s PKI ties can be easily refuted by examining his family’s history in Solo. He even displayed a photo in which a man resembling him stands near a podium during a speech by PKI’s CC Chairman, DN Aidit, in the 1955 election. Jokowi expressed bewilderment at the manipulated photo positioning him near the podium.

Therefore, the assertion that Jokowi is a descendant of the PKI is unfounded. Additionally, it’s worth noting that this narrative first surfaced in May 2014, when the tabloid Obor Rakyat (OR) published an article about Jokowi’s family history, two months before the 2014 Presidential Elections. The article suggested that Jokowi was not the son of Widjiatno Notomihardjo but of a PKI figure named Oey Hong Leong. Other claims stated that Notomihardjo was the head of the People’s Resistance Organization (Organisasi Perlawanan Rakyat, or OPR), an alleged front organization of the PKI in Boyolali Regency.

In conclusion, based on the comprehensive fact-checking and historical research conducted, the narrative that Jokowi has ties to PKI is inaccurate and misleading. This claim has been circulating since the 2014 Presidential Elections and has been consistently denied by Jokowi. As such, it’s crucial to rely on verified and well-sourced information to avoid the perpetuation of false narratives.