Moroccan King on Hirak: A problem of communication

The King of Morocco, Mohamed VI, gave a speech chastising ineffective bureaucrats on Saturday, July 29 in anticipation of the 18 anniversary of his reign on Sunday. The King touched briefly on the ongoing protests in Al-Hoceima, chalking up turmoil in the region to poor communication and bad local administration for programs and government administration, but praising police for their conduct.

The speech began with cautiously optimistic assessment of the economic situation of Morocco. “Development projects, political and institutional reforms that we lead pursue a single objective: to serve the citizen, no matter where he lives in our country and without distinction between north and south, east and west, or between urban and rural areas. Of course, the means available to Morocco are limited. And it is true that many regions have an increased need for basic social services. But Morocco, God be praised, is growing at a steady pace. Clearly and demonstrably, this progress is unanimously confirmed in the most diverse fields,” he said.

The second part of the speech was about the progress of political reform in the kingdom of Morocco. The king lamented that political reforms seemed to have no impact on reforming the character of politicians. “When the balance sheet turns out to be positive, parties, politicians and officials are eager to take center stage in order to scrounge the political and media benefits of the achievements made. But when the record is disappointing, they hide behind the Royal Palace and blame it responsible,” he quipped. The king kept on explaining how the Moroccan citizens always turn to him in time of need, and resumed his concerns in the second part of the speech in a simple but efficient question: “If the King of Morocco is not convinced by certain political practices, if he does not trust a number of politicians, what is left for the people?” He admonished politicians: “To all those who disappoint the expectations of the people, I say, “Enough! Have fear of God for your country’s sake … Acquit yourself fully from your own missions, or else eclipse yourself! For Moroccans are honest and sincere women and men towards their country.”

The King continued to reiterate support for businesses big and small and advocated that the Constitution be followed strictly before finally directly addressing what he called “Hirak Chaabi.” He attributed problems in Al-Hoceima to communication problems, saying that officials in charge of certain regions, including the region of Al-Hoceima, are not taking their responsibilities seriously, focusing instead on personal gain.

He went on to say that this led to the ongoing confrontations between security forces and the people: “In the face of this regrettable and dangerous vacuum [of responsibility], the police forces who have been facing the population have assumed their responsibility with courage, patience, restraint and great respect for the law. They have preserved security and stability. I’m talking about Al-Hoceima, although the description of what happened there is valid for any other region. The statement I make here contradicts the allegations made by some about the use of what they wrongly refer to as the security approach. Their vision gives the impression that Morocco is sitting on a volcano, and that every home, every citizen has a policeman who watches them.” The King then  thanked the security forces for their work.

Mohammed VI continued with talking about how he was raised to love the kingdom and to serve its people and lead them towards what’s  finished with the fact that even with the most efficient development models, best plans and most advanced strategies, nothing will change without a change in mentality, an administration with the best cadres, political parties appealing to the most qualified elites for the management of public affairs; and without a sense of responsibility and civic engagement. For Moroccans can benefit from the conditions of a free and dignified life only if there’s a change.

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