Indonesia’s notorious traffic jam forces president to walk

Graft-ridden Indonesia is home to one of Asia’s most inefficient bureaucracies and traffic gridlock plagues many of the archipelago’s largest towns. (AFP)
Updated 05 October 2017

Indonesia’s notorious traffic jam forces president to walk

JAKARTA: Indonesia’s notorious traffic congestion was on display for the world Thursday after the country’s president was forced to walk two kilometers through the scorching heat to attend a military parade.
Graft-ridden Indonesia is home to one of Asia’s most inefficient bureaucracies and gridlock plagues many of the archipelago’s largest towns.
The country’s traffic nightmares were aptly illustrated when President Joko Widodo had to walk more than two kilometers to attend a ceremony marking the 72nd anniversary of the Indonesian military’s founding.
Widodo and senior government officials were held up by gridlock as they approached the military parade in Cilegon, a port city about two-and-a-half hours drive from the capital Jakarta, the presidential palace said.


After a 30-minute wait, “the president then decided from inside the car that he would walk,” Widodo’s guard Ili Dasili said in a statement.
National police chief Tito Karnavian, who was also stuck in the jam, joined the president.
Video footage shows the president walking with a phalanx of security personnel while spectators yell and chant his name.
Widodo’s unorthodox entrance wasn’t lost on social media users, who questioned why the leader of Southeast Asia’s largest economy was compelled to walk to the event.
“How come the president walked for two kilometers to the military anniversary location, why didn’t they give him the privilege of vacating the road or taking him in a helicopter?” Twitter user @Pujithegooners wrote.


Britain pledges $227 million annual civilian and food aid to Afghanistan

Updated 56 min 31 sec ago

Britain pledges $227 million annual civilian and food aid to Afghanistan

  • Afghanistan is at risk of receiving between 15 percent and 20 percent less funding than it received at the previous donor conference four years ago

GENEVA: Britain said it will pledge $227 million in annual civilian and food aid for Afghanistan at a conference on Tuesday in Geneva where officials from about 70 countries and humanitarian organizations will pledge billions of dollars for the war-torn nation.
Dependent on foreign aid, Afghanistan is at risk of receiving between 15 percent and 20 percent less funding than it received at the previous donor conference four years ago, diplomats say, as governments are under intense pressure to make savings as they ramp up spending to help their own economies recover from impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Withholding funds at this point, diplomats say, could at least provide foreign governments with some leverage to inject a greater sense of urgency into peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban representatives that began in Qatar in September.
Britain, a country with a long and difficult history of involvement in Afghanistan, is the country’s third largest bilateral donor, and the amount being pledged in Geneva will be slightly higher than it pledged at the last donor conference in Brussels four years ago.
The statement issued by the UK Mission to the United Nations and World Trade Organization in Geneva said $207 million would be pledged to support peace and stability in Afghanistan and “improve access to education and vital infrastructure.”
Britain would “also announce an extra $20 million to the United Nations’ World Food Programme” for Afghanistan.
The latest monetary commitment is separate from the $93.32 million security pledge for Afghan forces for 2021, which Britain announced last month.
In Brussels in 2016, Britain had pledged a total of $1 billion for four years, which translated into 187.5 million pounds annually.
At the Brussels conference, Afghanistan obtained total pledges of $15.2 billion for 2017 to 2020, equivalent to $3.8 billion a year.