Moroccan king blasts political parties for failure to contain crisis
London- Moroccan King Mohammed VI’s criticism of the country’s political parties for failing to contain the crisis in the Rif region and not meeting Moroccans’ economic and political aspirations led political analyst Mohammed Afry to say the king had stripped them of any remaining credibility.
“I wonder if the civil society associations can play the role of political parties and fill the void,” Afry said after the July 29 speech by King Mohammed VI to mark the 18th anniversary of his ascension the throne.
“Note that the majority of these political parties have not gained for a long time the confidence of all citizens, especially after the legislative elections, which produced a government of ministers who remain highly controversial because of their failure to manage the affairs of their own parties and their failure in some of their governmental responsibilities,” Afry said
King Mohammed VI slammed politicians and government officials who “vie for the spotlight to derive benefits from the achievements made, both politically and in terms of media exposure.”
“Vying for media exposure and political wins has led parties and politicians to forget their primary mission in serving the public,” he said. “The desire to seek the limelight is contrasted with a completely different behaviour when things go wrong. In this case, officials and politicians hide behind the Royal Palace and ascribe everything to it.
“As a result, citizens turn to the monarchy because politicians cannot get things done nor respond to people’s demands,” the king said.
The king lashed out for the first time at political parties for failing to contain the crisis in the Al Hoceima region.
“The fact that political parties and their representatives refrain from performing their mission — sometimes deliberately, and sometimes out of a lack of credibility or patriotism — has further compounded the situation,” King Mohammed VI said.
The restive Rif region has been a scene of eight months of protests since the gruesome death of fishmonger Mouhcine Fikri, who was crushed inside a rubbish truck October 28, 2016, in Al Hoceima while apparently protesting the seizure and destruction of hundreds of kilograms of swordfish, which are not allowed to be caught in autumn.
Fikri’s death sparked the emergence of a grass-roots movement called Al-Hirak al-Shaabi — Popular Movement — demanding improvement in social justice, jobs and health care.
Yahya Ahrepou, a car salesman from the Rif region, said it was about time the king reprimanded the political parties. “Overall, I’m happy with the content of the speech. Al- Hoceima citizens are now more optimistic. The king talked the talk but we want to see the government walk the walk,” Ahrepou said.
Afry said that after Moroccan King Mohammed VI’s speech, there would be no room for the slightest initiative of any political party towards the Rif crisis except within a governmental framework.
“The speech ended the role of the parties towards these events, especially those that failed to manage the protests issued a statement in which they branded protesters as separatists, before the government calmed the situation by issuing a counter-statement saying that the protests were legitimate,” he said.
Property developer Khalid Amry said the king’s speech must be put into practice.
“The administration must wake up and update itself to translate the speech into action. That way we will feel that our investments are safe in Morocco,” he said. “Many investors are facing bureaucratic hurdles for their projects and unlawful competition, which is hampering the economic activity in our country.”
In June, King Mohammed VI criticised the government for failing to implement the 2015 development programme in the Rif region to improve the region’s infrastructure.
Protesters are still taking to the streets, although to a much lesser extent, to denounce corruption and marginalisation despite the government’s relaunch of the programme.
In his July 29 speech, the king criticised the public sector, particularly the civil service, for its poor governance and weak performance.
“One of the problems which impede Morocco’s progress is the weakness of the civil service, be it in terms of governance, efficiency or the quality of the services provided to citizens,” he said
The king warned those in positions of power to either do their jobs properly or quit.
“To all those concerned I say: ‘Enough is enough!’ Fear God in what you are perpetrating against your homeland,” he said. “Either discharge your obligations fully or withdraw from public life.”
Amry said that any politician or civil servant must be held into account for their wrongdoings and incompetence.
“By doing so, Morocco will gain the trust of both its citizens and investors,” he said.