Washington, DC, July 31, 2017 (MACP) – In a speech to the nation on July 29 marking the 18th anniversary of his reign, Morocco’s King Mohammed VI strongly chastised civil servants and elected officials who have failed to provide strong and responsive democratic institutions equally across the country, saying, “The development projects and the political and institutional reforms carried out target a single goal: to serve citizens, wherever they may be. There is no difference between north and south, east and west, urban and rural areas.”
The King called on Morocco’s diverse political parties and civil servants to prioritize their responsibility to citizens over self-interest. “Morocco must come first: before political parties, before elections and before senior positions,” he said. “Today, however, we are witnessing glaring paradoxes that are hard to understand or accept. On the one hand, Morocco enjoys indisputable credibility at continental and international levels, the esteem and consideration of our partners and the confidence of major investors, such as the Boeing, Renault and Peugeot groups. But on the other hand, we are shocked by the end results, the facts on the ground and the modest achievements made in certain social sectors, so much so that it is shameful to admit we are actually talking about present-day Morocco.”
The King insisted, “I will not accept any backtracking on democratic achievements,” and called for the implementation, “fully and rigorously,” of Article 1 of the Constitution mandating accountability in the public sector. “It is high time this principle were implemented in full,” he said. “Just as the law applies equally to all citizens, it must be applied, first and foremost, to all officials, without distinction or discrimination, and in all of the Kingdom’s regions. This is the dawn of a new era.”
The King reaffirmed the importance of the Western Sahara as a top priority for Morocco. And, alluding to the Green March of 1975 to reclaim it from Spain, he said, “What I am seeking to achieve today, in all regions of the Kingdom, is a new [march] – a march for the achievement of human and social development; a march for equality and social justice for all Moroccans. One may come up with the most efficient development model and the best plans and strategies but:
- without a change in mentality;
- without having the best civil servants;
- without the political parties choosing the best elites that are qualified to run public affairs;
- without a sense of responsibility and national commitment; one would not be able to offer all Moroccans the free, dignified life one wants them to have.”
“King Mohammed VI’s speech shows, once again, Morocco’s steadfast commitment to staying on the path of modernization and democracy and continuing to act as a force for progress and stability in the region,” said former US Ambassador to Morocco Edward M. Gabriel. “The King’s focus on accountability, transparency, and the government’s responsibility to the citizens shows how clearly he recognizes that democracy is not just about free and fair elections, it is primarily about serving the people of Morocco.”
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