The unflappable Mr. Abdelillah Benkirane, who billed himself as a spur to political virtue, the ultimate standard-bearer willing to stake his political future on standing up for the people, has succeeded in ushering in a golden age of nonpartisanship when he secured a most unlikely coalition for his executive cabinet. The Independence Party (Istiqlal), the Progress and Socialism Party (Takadum Wal-Ishtirakia), and the People’s Movement (Alharaka Ashaabia), in a rare instance of syncretism and out of an unadulterated sense of patriotic urge to advance the relentless inculcation of democracy in Morocco, have decided to brush aside their fundamental ideological differences with the PJD and join its new government. Once the ministerial portfolios assigned and the new formation is blessed by King Mohammed VI, the new government can finally attend to the pressing matters the public cares passionately about. Abbas El Fassi commented on the new coalition by saying: “WE’RE BACK!” Salahddine Mezouar, the Minister of Economy and Finance and the President of the National Independents Rally, is being alienated, not only by Benkirane, but by his former partners in crime as well. He is so dejected about this he hardly has the energy to steal anybody’s money.
We were on the precipice of despair, people; on the brink of a bloody revolution; stalked by anomie. Thanks to the initiative of His Royal Highness who has always been attuned to the needs of his people and to the political parties whose stalwart effort greatly contributed to the success of last month’s Legislative election, we are skipping the Arab Spring and going straight into the Moroccan Summer. But don’t pull out your Lancaster tanning lotion and don your swimsuits quite yet, especially the ladies, until PJD strategists section the beaches by gender and provide ushers to assist the public. The Moroccans, with their dream to forge a sustainable democracy galvanized by a reformed constitution and a new government that has vowed to disown the deleterious strategies of its predecessors, await with panting anticipation the badly needed implementation of new social, economic, and political fatwas that will restore confidence, energize the employment market and drag them out of the ditch of poverty.
Let’s not concern ourselves with the fact that the parties invited to be part of the government greatly contributed to the corruption, incompetence, and cronyism that have hamstrung the nation’s progress since the independence. Don’t get wrapped around the axle because a few bloggers and journalist got arrested and activists were intimidated by a few shoves and slaps and the occasional knife stab from hired crack heads. Look at the bright side of things. Those crack heads are now gainfully employed. Disregard the fact that during the tenures of Abbas El Fassi, Nabil Benabdellah, and Mohand Laenser, corruption was so widespread many analysts thought it a spin-off of a governing strategy. Don’t let the effulgent and shameless lack of personal rectitude previous ministerial officials from these parties cloud your judgment and stamp your hopes. It is true that the men entrusted to lead us in Benkirane’s government have devised cynical designs to retain the ability to expand their personal and their parties’ influences and maintain the status quo. That was before we began our historic shift. They are now paragons of integrity.
Now that we have a new constitution and democratically elected officials, the notion of a Moroccan government as a cesspool of Makhzen ideologues appointed to crucial position of influence regardless of ethics and competence is quickly fading in the rearview mirror of our history. Have no doubt that by emphasizing the eminence of the new constitution in his 17 June 2011 speech, the King widened the scope of democracy so much that he foreordained the success of Morocco’s democratic experience. You might feel compelled to think of that speech retrospectively as a sedating sophistic discourse. Don’t pay too much attention to those polarizing pundits and activist bloggers who draw your attention to the fact that by appointing twenty-eight Ambassadors on 6 December, the King acted in violation of article 49 of the constitution. What could be a better lesson in democracy than the King himself taking the time to show the people the wrong example? After all, the King’s appeal resides in the fact that he is something of a paradox: he counsels democracy, but feels his actions represent the national will. I know you are urged to look at his adding the controversial Fouad Ali El Himma, a political hack whose lack of credibility is terminal, to his advisory staff as a blunt statement that further reinforces the Moroccans’ impression that Mohammed VI is still using the master script of governance written by
Hassan II, only framing it in a way befitting of today’s highly politically sensitive environment. Such assertions are absurd. There is no one in Morocco that could advise the King on how to mix a Manhattan better than Fouad Ali El Himma. Of course, for El Himma, now that the PJD is in charge of the government, there is no safer place to drink one than in the Palace.
I wouldn’t call what’s happening in Morocco democracy, but I would be happy with something like: “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Democracy.”
A. T. B. © 2011