The late Sem Karoba has left notes on his notebook and laptop’s hard-disk that we start to learn many things from them. Karoba has written in his blogs and spoken publicly among elders in West Papua, particularly during the setting up of the Koteka Tribal Assembly (KTA or DeMMAK - Dewan Musyawarah Masyarakat Adat Koteka), sometime before he came across with the “Tribal Model of Democracy” by Nelson Mandela that the Tribal Democracy that Karoba proposed was a democracy that operates within the tribal boundaries and traditional institutions.
Nelson Mandela’s Autobiography and what many authors have written about him adds to Karoba’s concept of tribal democracy, which Mandela calls “Tribal Model of Democracy”. Sem Karoba in fact cried a lot when he read Mandela’s book. Karoba quoted in his notebook, in his handwritten sentences, what Mandela said in his autobiography.
"It was democracy in its purest form. There may have been a hierarchy of importance among the speakers, but everyone was heard: chief and subject, warrior and medicine man, shopkeeper and farmer, landowner and labourer. People spoke without interruption, and the meetings lasted for many hours. The foundation of self-government was that all men were free to voice their opinions and were equal in their value as citizens. ...”
When Karoba read this, as he puts it, he did not read the book further. He stopped, cried and cried. Something vibrated in his heart, but something that he knows is not there in place anymore,due to the Indonesian occupation, due to the modern influence.
He said to Mandela,
“I want West Papua to be a free and democratic country, as democratic as you are talking about here, in your story.
Please, Mandela, come and help me. I know that you do not know me, but I know that you understand what I mean. I mean, I want to make this Tribal Model of Democracy a blessing for humanity, and first of all, a blessing for West Papua, as a free and independent state. You have freed South Africa from Apartheid, we will free West Papua from neo-colonialism, and we will show to the world that Tribal Peoples do have democracy, and this model of democracy is the model of democracy that all human societies should seek and implement.”
Tribal Model of Democracy is not democracy of the past in human history, but it should now become democracy of the future human society, as Tribal Democracy does help human beings to perceive, see and treat all communities of beings as equal, as fellow beings, as part of the democratic community.