Adi Winarso (11 December 1950 – 8 September 2023) was a prominent figure in Indonesian politics and military, having served as a naval officer before embarking on a political career that saw him serve as the mayor of Tegal, Central Java.
Born in the village of Panggang in Jepara Regency on 11 December 1950, Winarso moved to Tegal at a young age due to his father’s teaching assignment at a middle school. Upon completing his high school education in Tegal, he pursued his dream of joining the military and enrolled at the Indonesian Naval Academy, from which he graduated in 1974.
By 1999, having ascended to the rank of naval colonel, Winarso took a leap into the world of politics. He ran for the mayoral position in Tegal, and with the city council’s approval — winning 13 out of 22 votes — he was inaugurated as mayor on 23 March 1999. With the backing of Golkar in January 2004, Winarso was reelected for a second term, triumphing over his main rival, Agil Abdurrohim, the local PDI-P chairman. Controversially, after Abdurrohim’s defeat, allegations surfaced about a monetary exchange with the PDI-P councillors, leading to public unrest and protests outside the city hall.
During his tenure as mayor, Winarso championed various projects. He unveiled the Bahari Monument [id] in December 2008, a testament to the Indonesian Navy’s rich history in Tegal. His vision for the city also included the establishment of several shopping centers and designating a street specifically for nighttime culinary delights from local street food vendors. Further demonstrating his commitment to infrastructural development, he initiated the renovation of local markets and masterminded the relocation of the city’s bus terminal to a larger, more accommodating location.
In a memorable episode close to the end of his mayoral term, Winarso appeared in a talk show that also featured Abdurrohim, a past rival. The tenure came to its conclusion on 23 March 2009, with Ikmal Jaya succeeding him.
Post-mayorship, in 2014, Winarso found himself under the scrutiny of the Corruption Eradication Commission, albeit as a witness in a probe concerning Ikmal Jaya. Unfortunately, health issues plagued him in his later years, resulting in hospitalization in 2021 due to respiratory complications.
The life of Adi Winarso came to an end on 8 September 2023. He was 72. His legacy in Tegal, both as a naval officer and a politician, remains etched in the annals of the city’s history.