King Mohammed VI’s speech is a reflection of his ties to citizens

There is no barrier between King Mohamed VI and the Moroccan people. On the contrary, there is total transparency and boldness in presenting things as they are.
Monday 03/08/2020
A 2018 file picture shows Moroccan King Mohammed VI waving to the crowd as he arrives to the the opening session in the Morocco Parliament in Rabat. (AFP)
A 2018 file picture shows Moroccan King Mohammed VI waving to the crowd as he arrives to the the opening session in the Morocco Parliament in Rabat. (AFP)

Continued attention to the well-being of Moroccan citizens is the prime characteristic of Moroccan King Mohammed VI. This remains true to this day. The king’s speech on the 21st anniversary of his accession to the throne was its latest illustration. One of the most salient features of the speech was the king’s insistence on providing social protection to all Moroccans as he strives to make the country a pioneering oasis of stability in a region facing major challenges at various levels.

The king’s speech was devoted to dealing with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. He explained what Morocco has done and what measures it has taken. He scientifically presented the shortcomings and flaws to be addressed.

There is no barrier between King Mohamed VI and the Moroccan people. On the contrary, there is total transparency and boldness in presenting things as they are.

This is what caused the Moroccan monarch to say in the first part of his speech that “the mutual bonds and feelings, which always unite us, do make us like one body and a one solid structure which stands together through good and bad. Hence, my attention to the health of Moroccan citizens and the well-being of their families is the same as that I devote to my children and to my close family, especially in this difficult context, which Morocco and the world are going through, due to the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The importance of monarchy in Morocco lies in its ability to deal with people’s concerns. King Mohammed VI feels what the average citizens feel, and he tells them so: “It is normal for a person to feel in these cases a kind of anguish or fear, but what has given us confidence and hope are the decisive measures that we have taken, since the first cases of the pandemic appeared in Morocco. These were difficult and sometimes harsh decisions to take. We were compelled to take them because of the need to protect our citizens and for the interest of the nation.”

Moroccan King Mohammed VI delivers a speech to the Nation on occasion of Throne Day. (MAP)
Moroccan King Mohammed VI delivers a speech to the Nation on occasion of Throne Day. (MAP)

The words of the Moroccan monarch, King Mohammed VI, were not limited to describing the current situation and how decisively the authorities have dealt with it. He extended his scope to exploring the fallout of the pandemic and said in this regard: “We are aware of the magnitude of the adverse effects of this crisis, not only on the health level, but also on the economic and social levels. Its repercussions affected the various productive sectors. The income of families and the state budget were greatly impacted. Therefore, we have created a special fund to address the health, economic and social repercussions of this pandemic. We are heartened by the fact that this initiative has sparked spontaneous enthusiasm and sustained solidarity (…) Nevertheless, I honestly must say that the consequences of this health crisis will be severe, despite the efforts we are taking to alleviate it. Therefore, I call for continued mobilisation, vigilance, solidarity, adherence to health measures, and preparing to be fully mobilised and ready to face any second wave of this pandemicc, God forbid, especially in the face of the laxity that we have noticed. ”

King Mohammed VI added: “Our work is not limited to dealing with the pandemic, but also aims to address its social and economic repercussions, within a comprehensive future-oriented perspective, that draws lessons from this stage and benefits from it. If this crisis confirmed the solidity of the social ties and the resilience of the spirit of solidarity between Moroccans, it also revealed a set of deficiencies, especially in the social field. Among them are the size of the informal sector, the weak social safety nets, especially for the most vulnerable groups and a number of sectors linked to external turbulence. Therefore, we should make this stage an opportunity to reset our priorities and build the bases of a strong and competitive economy and a more integrated social model. ”

King Mohammed VI also spoke of “injecting about 120 billion dirhams (about 13 billion dollars) into the national economy, the equivalent to 11% of the GNP. This percentage makes Morocco among the most daring countries in terms of policies aimed at reviving the economy after this crisis. ”

The goal is very clear and is to “provide social protection for all Moroccans, which will remain our overriding concern, so that we can generalise it to all social groups.”

The steadfastness of Morocco in the face of the COVID- 19 pandemic is not fortuitous. Nothing happens by chance in a country where the king works to strengthen the home front and turn it into a solid edifice, away from empty slogans and hollow rhetoric. There is a practical translation of every word he says, including fighting terrorism by first tackling poverty. Moreover, Morocco’s foreign policy has revealed that it is a policy based on a solid domestic base. The rule is clarity of vision and avoiding all complex-driven decisions. Morocco does not take any step without a prior serious study. This was confirmed by the return of the international community to the resolutions of the Skhirat Conference, which the kingdom hosted in 2015, in order to find a political settlement in Libya.

Various forces have worked to abort Moroccan efforts and to exclude Morocco. At the end, these forces were compelled to return to the resolutions of the Skhirat Conference, which was able to bring together all Libyan parties concerned and excluded the military option as a means of resolving the conflict, an option that everyone dismisses now.

Less than five years after the Skhirat conference, it turns out that Morocco has been working for stability in the region and not serving its regional ambitions like others. Morocco has no interest in any such ambitions to escape its internal problems. Morocco has had the wisdom to tackle its problems instead of claiming they did not exist.

King Mohammed VI spoke openly of these problems. One can only go back to his speeches since 1999 to check this fact. Numbers are never wrong and history is unforgiving. Those who export their internal crises beyond their borders to distract their populations or think they can blackmail, ignore or exclude Morocco forget that we live in a world where nothing works like success, especially when one deals with a country like Morocco reconciled with itself and with its citizens first.