The Moorish Wanderer

There Is No Alternative… and a U-Turn is no alternative, either

Posted in Flash News, Moroccan ‘Current’ News, Morocco, Tiny bit of Politics by Zouhair ABH on February 9, 2011

The looks were pretty similar. Baroness Thatcher is not natural blonde, though.

Did you see the picture? Meryl Streep bears striking similarities with the Iron Lady, and I am looking forward to the movie. But that is another matter. What I want to post about is Constitutional Reforms. “Oh, that old pensum”, one might think, that pops around when the left-wing radical has no other idea to discuss. Yes but this time, it’s real politics. And perhaps the chance for the monarchy to choose a different course of action.

It is rumoured, more and more insistently too, that there is a constitutional reform in the offings. The wires might be crossed, but it seems now -and I thank Annouss for this idea- that the new frontier for constitutional change is the extended de-centralization, a devolution as it were, that would end once for all the Sahara problem, and at the same time square the last advocates for real constitutional reforms. The Modus Operandi is still unclear, and the most moderate among the pro-reform radicals are gambling on that to take away the maximum amount of reforms, which ranges from an upgrade version of the 1997 de-centralization bill, to a full, federative monarchy, which would be not only a breakthrough in the MENA region, but would even set the standards in Europe and elsewhere in the world.

To put it bluntly, this regionalism stuff could be either a bitter disappointment or an unexpected stunt. It is high time M. Azimane presented His Majesty, and the nation, with his findings, so that the officials can proceed with the process. (come to think of it, His Majesty might have already received the report…)

Unless the recent events in Tunisia, Egypt, most likely in Yemen or even neighbouring Algeria were putting off the officials from implementing the reforms, for fear it might be construed as panicky concession, thus furthering public thrust for more freedom. The slippery slope, they would argue. (From now on, I’d refer to the officials in charge of policy-making as “the top brass”, just a matter of convenience) Perhaps 2012 is the new deadline; Constitutionally, the King is entitled to call off elections when sees fit -and that resulted in a brawl in the 1980s when rebellious USFP Members of Parliament refused the Regal decision- but still, it would be construed as a cooling-off period for a great design that, in the top brass’s view, should not be sullied by electoral process. Who knows how these people think… (Note: again if they recruit brainy people to sort out the policies, I may be interested… )

Let’s cast aside the prepared February 20th demonstrations and the frenzy of the half-witted ranting tediously against them. Tabula Rasa, ok? I understand my approach is somewhat flawed; Political science and real-life politics do not work like economics. There is no point in trying to isolate effects; This approach however, allows to consider the constitutional reform in a broader sense. As a principle. And when time comes, I’d try to link it up with the current events. First, by conventional standards, it has to be agreed that the current constitutional set is not democratic: the monarchy is constitutional, but the constitutional is not democratic. And the press, as well as the public should do away with the rather cheap argument that ‘our neighbours are worse’. Because it contradicts the other popular argument ‘Morocco is different’. In any case, Morocco might end up in the stead of East Germany: late 1980’s, Erich Hönecker was adamant East Germany already had its Glasnost, and yet, it was the first country on the iron curtain to come tumbling down. Not that I see any parallelism between the MENA region, Morocco on the one hand, and East Germany and Eastern Europe on the other, but I’d broach the top brass to think twice before claiming -or getting their puppets to do so- that Morocco have already implemented its reforms, and that it might not go further.

Going back to the constitutional reform; It is now obvious that not only the reform is necessary, but it is officially considered as a ‘political correct’ kind of political claim, and that even the top brass is getting amenable to the idea. The vehicle to achieve this reform is of course the regionalization card, the last one the official line claims to be the last piece in the grand democracy Morocco is enjoying. The recent troubles are just putting the implementation of such reforms off.

What does the man in the street thinks? Not much perhaps. He or She are more anxious about rising prices -a possible trigger for social unrest- and the immediate measures the government takes to defuse any possible crisis. Plus word have been put on not to antagonize the regular demonstrators. To be ‘nice’ to the underdog for fear they might turn berserk and spark the much feared riots. But then again, the more ostentatious these policies are publicized, the more conspicuous the top brass look in their inability to come up with a more long-term, sensible solution. Unless they would prepare for a stunt in 2012.

So 2012 could well be the constitutional year. A word of caution though: whatever the decision they would come up with, there is a high probability I would find it to be half-backed. Too shy in reforms at best. So I am speculating on 2012 as the possible turning point for the speculation’s sake. So, 2012, instead of delivering an election, would give us a Royal Speech arguing for wide-ranging consultations that would eventually lead to a constitutional referendum on the new de-centralization. The centrepiece would be devolved assemblies with relatively extended powers. A good move to strengthen local democracy, and in the Sahara, undercut separatist claims (an even bolder move is to appeal to Polisario to join in and run these assemblies from within Moroccan sovereignty). In any case, it’s going to be wait and see for 2012: either an election or a constitutional referendum (or both !)

The trouble with such promising perspective, is that it is the final frontier. There is nothing beyond this ultimate set of reforms. The finally final concession -and even yet another harvest of ex-left wing radicals turned zealots for the regime. The question remains: can the regime afford to duck pressing institutional calls for reform by pulling together a half-backed reform? The writings’ on the wall. And failure yet again might just feed growing resentment and increase the likelihoods of a disastrous outcome sensible minds would not contemplate for Morocco.

5 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. RDB said, on February 10, 2011 at 05:44

    Regards dear MoorishWandrer;

    Firts of all, let me tell you that i’m no half-witted, and i guess i’m a little bit wise, as far as many persons are in this country, to be against February 20th demonstrations.
    We do Want Democracy, we do want reforms, but but want them in a climate of peace not like what happened in Tunisia or Egypt.
    We, and i say we, for all those who asked the February 20th demonstrations’s activists no to step o,n the road, want to settle a debate, hereby and seriousely in the reak politic champ, meaning beeing involved in patys and other politic organisations, to let the people undrestand their real pacific power and the things that they can earn of the choices they’re making when they attend elections.
    We all love this Country and we all want it to grow in peace and safety, then every body can reach rights and dignity.
    Robin Des Blogs

    • The Moorish Wanderer said, on February 10, 2011 at 07:21


      The ‘half-witted’ bit was not directed to you dear colleague. I was talking about someone else (Cf the weblink). And to my best recollection, those calling for a demo on February 20th are not planning on violence, they are just set on making a point: there’s a need for genuine democracy in Morocco. Freedom of expression is meaningless if perspective of change are not out there.

      Thanks for the comment. Really honoured!

    • fawzi said, on February 11, 2011 at 07:34

      I seriously doubt that you even know what democracy entails. You shamelessly spew out the fear, uncertainty and doubt bullshit that every dictatorship uses to silence dissent.

      Elections are useless in Morocco. The political powers are concentrated in the hands of the palace. The kings reigns supreme and governs from his throne, which is unacceptable. And to top it all off, he repeatedly claimed that he has no intentions to move the country towards a constitutional monarchy.

      I for one am sick and tired of waiting for him to use his constitutionally granted powers to implement real reforms that puts him as a symbolic head of state and guarantee Moroccans’ freedoms (freedom of thoughts, gender equality and freedom of/from worship).

      You, and your royalist-islamist buddies, are not only half-witted, but downright dim-witted! Violence is the last thing a progressive movement wants. Offensive violence is part and parcel of the Makhzen’s arsenal and it uses it daily to quell dissent. The country is infamous for its prisons and torture chambers.

      This is a country where organizing an inoffensiveness peaceful luncheon in the forest is enough to violently mobilize large pans of the society and the state’s security apparatus. This is a country where a cartoon drawn in Denmark is enough to cause outrage, flag-burning and calls for boycotts and breaking diplomatic ties. This is a country where women are treated like half-men in civil law.

      Step off your ivory tower and take a bite of reality. Morocco is under autocratic rule. The king and his entourage enjoy abusive powers over the citizenry. If any violence breaks out, it will be the doing of clueless ultra-nationalists and islamists fueled by the bile and hatred from la MAP, state-media, Al-Massae and the Quran. Face it! Liberal democracy and freedom are not on the ruling elite’s agenda.

      • The Moorish Wanderer said, on February 11, 2011 at 23:11


        I feel the rage 😀
        I don’t claim to have royalist-islamist buddies around. Other than that, I am afraid you are right. But you see, for both of us, the ivory tower looks and feels so cosy that it is quite difficult to get out of it. These are difficult times indeed, and I fear I cannot contribute to alleviate the sufferings of our fellow citizens.

        You know, you should start a blog of your own, the progressive blogoma can use your talent 😉

        • fawzi said, on February 13, 2011 at 11:23

          My reply was to RDB. I don’t think you and I are deluding ourselves with regards to the severe degree of authoritarianism in Morocco. We have our own demons and topics we might be comfortably addressing from an ivory tower, but democracy and freedom are not such topics.

          I personally couldn’t abide by the immoral Moroccan red lines. I don’t mince words and it’s caused me enough problems as it is with the Makhzen. There is no progressive blogoma as far as I can tell. There’s a handful of Moroccans who fled the country and are not bound by the liberticidal law of the land anymore. And they’re fighting a battle with a large segment of the diaspora as well as with the folks back home. The battle is so hard that they don’t take themselves seriously and prefer using sarcasm and satire.

          Next week is the litmus test. The progressist secularist democratic factions will either rise triumphantly and finally make its voice a central component of Moroccan politics…or it will get beat up and lose credibility for decades to come.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: