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Stuck in the Same Circle

Guest poster doga was inspired to write this article in the run-up to the Moroccan local elections, which to no one’s surprise were won by the “palace party” of the king’s friend Fouad Ali Al Himma.

In the era of Hassan II and especially after the two coups d’état of 1971 and 1972, Hassan II sought to buy the obedience of the Army generals and the men of his entourage by giving them the chance to profit from the nation’s resources, and by permitting them to have special economic advantages in order to avoid similar betrayals, espeially since at the time the system’s opponents were numerous, so that the Makhzen sought to buy the consent of its policial opponents by inventing positions of govermental responsibility that would support the maximum of opposing voices while keeping in the hands of the Makhzen the so-called “sensitive” posts such as the Foreign Ministry and the Interior Ministry which was governed for two decades by Hassan II’s right hand man Driss Basri. In fact that’s why France currently has 15 ministers and Morocco has more than 30! Meanwhile the Makhzen sent other opponents to the famous Tazammart prison, and we know what took place in the 1970s such as torture. At the same time the Makhzen found it necessary to monopolize the nation’s economy to control the sources of money in order to keep them from being used against the system, and that’s why the nation’s development occurred with a rhythm that led more and more toward poverty and misery. It was a sort of exchange between the stability of the system and the development of the nation. In the end, in one way or another the system was able to manipulate the situation to its advantage.

Thus after the death of Hassan II, the new king Mohammed VI took power at a time when there were no longer political opponents against the system, and Moroccans were inspired to have a young king who proclaimed a new era for his people based on the fight against poverty and forms of corruption, economic development for the nation, etc. — but now ten years after the arrival of Mohammed VI, why is change not more visible for everyone?

I think that despite the royal will to build Morocco, the problem lies in the forms of corruption, which are rooted everywhere in the foundations of the state and result in a very slow rhythm of development, or to put it another way, the royal will hasn’t found enough people to translate itself into action quickly enough, for several reasons.

First of all, to absorb the criticism of politicians who profited in the days of Hassan II, it was necessary to give them free rein to practice their forms of corruption, which means that the government and the parliament are there just for show in order to claim that this is a nation of institutions, when in reality the decisions that impact the destiny and the economy of the nation are made inside the palace. Indeed there was no other reason at the time to accept the political game as it was, except to profit from the nation’s riches and by giving illusory promises to the citizens during the elections, otherwise how could we explain that a politician would promise the citizens something he would be unable to carry out even if he won? This is a process that went on for decades, and at the same time, it’s this circle that frustrated Moroccans and disgusted them with politics in general. As we say in a popular proverb, “lli galha lmakhzen hiya lli kayna,” which can be translated, “There are only those who say Makhzen.” Imagine how it could be that corruption has grown for decades without hearing that a single governmental official was found guilty of any crime, as if we had angels governing us! Indeed, this corruption in the form of a monster remains the obstacle for the nation’s development, but at the same time it’s the consequence of a certain kind of politics.

Also there is a lack of initiative for reform, whether constitutional, judicial, etc., and it’s normal that politicans who have lost their legitimacy before the people would avoid this sort of initiative, while a royal initiative in this sense is perhaps pointless at this time. We say that to sow seeds, good earth is needed, but as I said, the royal will hasn’t found enough sincere individuals who can follow it. And fighting against forms of corruption unfortunately takes a great deal of time.

I think the solution is to find a new inspiration for Moroccans at the political level in order to regain their confidence. Perhaps the party of Fouad Ali Al Himma, called Authenticity and Modernity, was created in order to follow the royal will to develop the nation, and we can imagine that this party is supported by the king since Al Himma is the king’s friend — yet the perpetual question for me is why Al Himma has brought together so many politicians of bad reputation in his political party?

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