Lack of accountability hinders governing in Morocco, analysts say
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.