Lack of accountability hinders governing in Morocco, analysts say

'I think the king is sending signals… that the state might resort to some kind of ‘shock therapy,'' Rachid Aourraz, researcher at the Arab Centre for Scientific Research and Human Studies

Moroccan Prime Minister Saad-Eddine El Othmani delivers a speech at the Parliament in Rabbat, last April. (AFP)

2017/10/22 Issue: 128 Page: 12

The Arab Weekly
Saad Guerraoui

Casablanca- Analysts said a lack of ac­countability in govern­ance was behind Moroc­co’s ailing development model, which King Mo­hammed VI accused of contributing to wealth inequality.

“Morocco’s plans and visions have failed to fulfil their objectives due to the lack of seriousness with public institutions and the account­ability during political transitions,” said Rachid Aourraz, a researcher at the Arab Centre for Scientific Research and Humane Studies in Rabat.

The king urged the government, parliament and all other institu­tions to “reconsider” the nation­al development model to keep abreast of changes in the country in a speech opening the year’s first parliament session.

“I call for innovative, bold solu­tions, even if that means going into uncharted territory or causing a po­litical earthquake,” he warned.

King Mohammed VI said a devel­opment model would remain lim­ited in scope unless it comprised effective mechanisms that allow for local and regional evolution.

Aourraz said he thought the king was “sending signals to the nation­al stakeholders that the state might resort to some kind of shock ther­apy to deal with any misconduct.”

Mountacir Zian, director-general of the Rabat-based Mediterranean Company of Analysis and Strategic Intelligence, said Morocco indeed “needs a new model” of develop­ment able to create jobs, provide better governance and decrease so­cial disparities.

King Mohammed VI advocated more regionalisation of services to fulfil social and development ex­pectations in all regions.

Aourraz said regionalisation problems added to the crisis in Al Hoceima because of the way the Authenticity and Modernity (PAM) party was dealing with it.

The restive Rif region has seen regular protests against corruption and marginalisation since the death of fishmonger Mouhcine Fikri, who was crushed in a rubbish truck Oc­tober 28, 2016, in Al Hoceima as he apparently tried to protest the sei­zure and destruction of hundreds of kilograms of swordfish, which are not allowed to be caught in au­tumn.

Ilyas El Omari, former general-secretary of PAM and the leader of the Tangier-Tetouan-Al Ho­ceima region, resigned after only 18 months leading the opposition group. The leading opposition par­ty has not issued an official state­ment on what steps it will be taking to elect Omari’s successor, how­ever. Some PAM members accused the leadership of mismanagement.

“How can a party that is having internal conflicts govern a region that has been the scene of ongoing protests for several months?” asked Aourraz.

In his speech to parliament King Mohammed VI called for more ini­tiatives, primarily in training and employment, to help the country’s youth, particularly in rural ar­eas and poor suburban neighbour­hoods.

“Mainly public institutions launch social projects that can benefit the youth,” said Zian. “It is through these projects that young talents are spotted. A bad manage­ment due to the absence of control and follow-up mechanisms besides unaccountability will always hinder the youth’s creativity and talent.”

The king also said Moroccans “need a fair and effective” judici­ary.

“They want an efficient public service that caters for the needs of citizens and serves public interest; a public service that promotes in­vestment and fosters development, without any form of bribery, crony­ism or corruption,” he stressed.

Zian said that Moroccan citizens have lost confidence in the coun­try’s public institutions, including the judiciary.

Aourraz echoed those remarks, saying the judiciary must be im­partial and firm because “there are corrupt people who are using their influence” in the political sphere to evade punishment.

“Unfortunately, corrupt people are rarely prosecuted while public services are lagging because they are dealing with citizens in papers while most countries have em­braced the e-administration.”

Saad Guerraoui is a regular contributor to The Arab Weekly on Maghreb issues.

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