It's ten years since King Mohammed VI took the reigns of the Moroccan monarchy. Two of our Moroccan Observers comment on his time in power so far.
“He is the state”
Larbi is a blogger and IT consultant from Morocco. He currently lives in Paris.
King Mohammed VI is like heads of state all over the world - he's not all bad but we've had some disappointments. Two examples come to mind...
The broken promise of institutional reform was a massive disappointment. Just like it was when he began his reign, the king is still the only decision-maker in Morocco, the only person to referee and define politics and everything else. It doesn't matter who has a majority in parliament or what they believe in. The decisions made and choices settled on are neither explained, debated, or given a second opinion. He is the state. The government's principal mission is to carry out the Monarch's instructions. Besides, the king's personal entourage, made up of old classmates, are constantly nibbling at things which concern the public sphere, despite having no official political control.
The second disappointment concerns a question of custom. When he came into power, we had many hopes that he would relax a few traditions. But we soon become disillusioned. TV carries on with this bygone idea of reading out every telegram, in its entirety, received by the king. The officials don't miss a chance to remind us, in the most exaggerated and slimy way, of our allegiance to the king. The kissing of his hand, something from another age and completely undignified and out of place, continues to this day, and continues to tarnish our image as a country."
“This clearout has not been entirely thorough”
Mounir Bensalah is an engineer in Casablanca. He posted this comment on his blog, "Des maux à dire".
Mohammed VI's reign has placed Morocco on the map in terms of economics and reform. Any honest observer would note the change in terms of infrastructure, behaviour, the attitude of the administration, leeway on certain freedoms. However, this clearout has not been entirely thorough (not covering corruption within the elite, non-respect to freedom of expression, medieval practices and rituals of the makhzen [royalty].
It's also important to recognise all of the problems that the king had to take on: Western Sahara, Islamic extremism, revolutionaries re-converted to royal customs, economic and military lobbies, strained international relations.
The king has made real progress in many areas - the moudawana [a new family law adopted in 2004 which notably makes repudiation and polygamy more difficult], major constructions such as the TGV [fast train] lines and new motorways, the IER [a truth commission set up in 2004 to tackle human rights offences between 1956 and 1999]. All these things however, are not good enough for those who consider Morocco a true, modern, democracy."