The Moorish Wanderer

Is anyone thinking about 2016?

Posted in Moroccan Politics & Economics, Morocco, Read & Heard, The Wanderer by Zouhair ABH on March 5, 2012

It seems not. A year seems to be a long time in Moroccan politics, and all across the political spectrum, politicians and activists do not seem to take a step back an look at the big picture, even the most experienced and respected of those.

Winners and Losers, but ultimately losers for failing to provide Moroccans with a vision.

Fouad Abdelmoumni, a respected Human Rights activists and a father-figure (of sorts) with the Feb20 movement, expressed short-sightedness in his analysis regarding the future of this government. He claims:

Enfin, les prochaines semaines nous montreront si ce gouvernement est conscient qu’il joue sa survie, celle d’un parti majeur et celle du pays. La crise va bientôt peser de tout son poids, et le Maroc n’a que le choix d’en sortir par le haut, à travers la démocratie, l’effort et les solutions courageuses, sous peine de sombrer à plus ou moins brève échéance dans les frustrations et la confrontation. Il convient surtout de ne pas oublier que les anciens expédients par lesquels le Maroc a pu tenir (répression, corruption, division des opposants, monopole de l’information…) sont révolus, et que la rue ne manquera pas de demander des comptes dès la fin de la “période de grâce” du gouvernement.

And I suspect many activists are thinking the same thing: that PJD-led government coalition, just like the Constitutional Referendum and Parliamentary Elections are a patch to contain the growing social resentment against repression, nepotism and the like. That may be true, but still, it does not absolve the movement -and the Moroccan left- from building a truly comprehensive pro-democracy platform, or at least to provide clear-cut, unambiguous set of principles to which a majority of Moroccans can relate to.

The mainstream political spectrum also seems to be lacking their own political Weltanschauung: can anyone state precisely how USFP, or PAM, or UC stand on specific issues as well as broad principles? In fact, screw broad principles, as they bear little meaning in Moroccan politics: PAM defines itself as a left-leaning party with a former CDG Sovereign fund CEO and technocrat Mustapha Bakkouri, and USFP, a member of the Socialist Internationale, has been a lifelong partner of conservative and crypto-islamist Istiqlal within the Historic Koutla, now a junior partner with the PJD-led government. As for the government, the mere fact a coalition is in cahoots until 2016 makes it sure no viable strategy is devised anywhere near 2016; in fact, it is very likely to be “2016 and bust”.

Since principles bear little significance to party politics in Morocco, only precise, comprehensive sets of policy agenda can be useful in defining the dividing lines of Moroccan politics. As for how parties view themselves in the next couple of years, mum’s the word; and I suspect this is due to their refusal to commit to a long-term vision. And there are basically two ways to go to explain it: lack of vision or excessive caution. Either way, it does not serve the public well.

What’s a vision for 2016? And Isn’t the date itself an example of political short-sightedness? Indeed. But the centrepiece of representative democracy is the rough-and-tumble of political campaigning induced by elections. And these usually trigger timely commitments from representatives and political leaders – perhaps we should consider elections every two years: 4 years of a full parliament intertwined with 4 years of local/regional elections.

Until they can come up with a comprehensive -and I insist on that term COMPREHENSIVE- agenda in all areas of pubic policy, they will have to focus on specific issues, preferably away from identity and culture stuff, like… the veil for instance; I’d rather prefer the public discourse go: “They will tax you back to the stone ages” vs “Tax breaks for the rich, additional burden for the middle classes”

One Response

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  1. fawzi said, on March 6, 2012 at 08:48

    Sincere question: what does it matter as long as the king governs?

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