August 20, 2015 marks the 62nd anniversary of the exile of Morocco’s Sultan Sidi Mohammed ben Yusef—later known as King Mohammed V— to Corsica by the French colonial powers of the time. It was a move that proved to be a turning point in Moroccans’ mobilization for independence and is commemorated in Morocco as the Revolution of the King and the People Day. King Mohammed VI delivered a speech to the nation on the occasion:
Praise be to God May peace and blessings be upon the Prophet, His Kith and Kin
Today, with feelings of appreciation and gratitude,we are celebrating the sixty-second anniversary of the glorious Revolution of the King and the People.
This is an annual opportunity to seek guidance from the values of sacrifice and patriotism embraced by the generation that fought for the independence and freedom of the nation, particularly at this moment in time, as our country prepares to embark on a new revolution.
The implementation of the advanced regionalization plan will be the cornerstone of Morocco’s unity and territorial integrity and will help us achieve social solidarity, as well as balance and complementarity between regions.
Since every era is determined by its men and women, the coming revolution will need honest elected representatives whose main concern is to serve the nation and the citizens who voted for them.
The coming elections, which will be held in a few days, will be crucial for the future of Morocco, given the extensive powers granted by the Constitution and the law to regional councils and local communities.
For the sake of clarity, I will explain the mission and role incumbent upon each and every institution and the impact it is set to have on the lives of citizens, who have the right to know everything about the institutions serving them, so that they may make the right decision and the right choice.
The Government is responsible, under the authority of the Head of Government, for implementing laws, developing public policies and drawing up sectoral plans.
It is also responsible for public administration and has a duty to improve administrative services and bring them closer to the citizens.
As I said in an earlier speech, the Government is not responsible for the quality of services provided by elected councils.
The Minister of Energy is not responsible for street lights, water and electricity services or sanitation. By the same token, the Minister of Interior is not responsible for garbage collection or street cleaning, nor is the Minister of Equipment and Transport in charge of local street-paving or urban transport.
Citizens have to be aware that the people in charge of these social and administrative services, which they need in their everyday life, are the people they voted for in their community or region.
Contrary to what some citizens think, Members of Parliament have nothing to do with the management of local affairs. Their duty is to propose, discuss and pass laws, monitor Government action and assess public policies.
If many citizens take only scant interest in elections and do not participate in them, it is because some elected officials do not fulfill their duties properly; in fact, some of these officials do not even know the people who voted for them.
Just like doctors, lawyers, teachers and civil servants, elected officials must work hard on a daily basis and make extra efforts, since they are in charge of other peoples’ interests, not their own.
Some of them, however, think that their mission starts and ends with registering as candidates. Once they are elected, they disappear for years, only to show up at the following poll.
Votes should not go to those who speak more or louder than others and repeat empty slogans; nor should they go to those who hand out a few dirhams during electoral campaigns and sell false promises to the citizens.
Such acts are not only punishable by law, but they are also a blatant sign of disrespect for voters.
Citizens should vote for competent, credible candidates, who are committed to serving the public good.
I would like to say this to political parties as well as to candidates: the purpose sought from elections is not to hold senior positions, but to serve the citizens.
To citizens, I would like to say this: voting is a right and a national duty, a major responsibility that has to be shouldered. It is a tool in your hands; you either use it to change the daily management of your affairs or to maintain the status quo, good or bad.
You should know that the direct election of the president and members of your region gives you the power to decide and to choose your representatives. Make a conscientious, responsible choice, for tomorrow you will have no right to complain of mismanagement or poor services.
It is matter of deep satisfaction that the number of newly registered voters is on the rise. It includes those who abstained from participating in elections in the past because they were not satisfied with the work of elected councils.
Today, they want to use their right and fulfill their national duty, but many of them are still wondering who they should trust and vote for.
Parties and candidates therefore have to convince them, show them how serious, pertinent and realistic their programs are, share their vision and communicate with them.
In this regard, I call on civil society actors and unions to get deeply involved by urging citizens to participate in the electoral process.
In short, the citizens’ power to protect their interests, find solutions to some of their problems, hold their representatives accountable and replace them, can be summarized in one word: “vote”.
I consider serving the citizens as the ultimate goal of all national policies; I also consider the citizens’ security and safety as a top concern.
Nowadays, the world in general, and the Maghreb and Arab regions in particular, are witnessing rapid changes caused by the rise of religious extremism and the proliferation of terrorist groups.
Because, in Morocco, we know that terrorism cannot be ascribed to a given religion or country, the Kingdom has joined the international effort to combat this global scourge.
At the national level, the Kingdom is fighting the causes that might lead to extremism and terrorism and we thank God for the security and stability our country enjoys.
However, just like any other country in the region, if not in the world, Morocco is also exposed to these threats.
Unfortunately, some countries in the region are going through difficult times, due to insecurity and the proliferation of arms and radical groups.
Accordingly, Morocco has had to take a series of preventive measures in order to protect its security and stability.
In this regard, the Kingdom has imposed entry visas on some Arab nationals, namely Syrians and Libyans.
While showing solidarity with these peoples, Morocco has regrettably been forced to take such a measure,given the circumstances.
This decision is not aimed at any party and should not be seen as an unfriendly gesture. It is a sovereign decision and as the defender of the country’s security and stability, I will not tolerate any carelessness or negligence in protecting Morocco and Moroccans.
Indeed, Morocco has been working continuously to preserve its security and fully protect its borders, especially during the past two years. This mission has been accomplished, thanks to the joint efforts of all authorities and forces concerned.
We will continue our efforts, with the utmost vigilance and determination, to prevent anyone from entering the country illegally.
In the past, a number of refugees from countries plagued by security challenges managed to enter the country.
We are sorry about the dire conditions in which some of these refugees live; in fact, some of them have to resort to begging to survive.
In this respect, I do not think I need to urge Moroccans to treat them as guests and come to their assistance.
I am sure they share their suffering and try to help them as much as they can.
In return, these refugees have to abide by Moroccan laws and respect sacred national and religious values, mainly the Sunni Maliki rite.
Any breach of Moroccan law and regulations will lead to deportation.
I am referring particularly to those who attempt to create chaos inside and outside mosques or join criminal and terrorist gangs.
Morocco will nonetheless remain a land of hospitality for its guests, without becoming a land of refuge.
What I am saying is that we have our own priorities and we need to address them.
We are striving to face our own challenges in order to ensure Moroccans enjoy a dignified life.
I take this opportunity to pay tribute to all security forces for their mobilization and vigilance in order to foil any terrorist plot aimed at upsetting the Moroccan model, which is globally recognized as unique.
I would also like to stress that the country’s security and stability are not the exclusive responsibility of state institutions, but the duty of all citizens, in collaboration and coordination with the competent authorities.
In fact, extremism can only be fought through a participatory approach, based on the promotion of the values of openness and tolerance embraced by Moroccans, and the combination of social, development, religious and educational dimensions, as well as security aspects.
We are grateful for all the blessings the Almighty has bestowed on our country, particularly the symbiosis between the people and the throne and a genuine commitment to the nation’s unity and territorial integrity.
By ensuring the success of regionalization and preserving the security and stability of the nation, we achieve a common objective,which is to serve Moroccan citizens.
It is a historic duty that we collectively have to perform to keep the flame of the renewed Revolution of the King and the People alight and make sure Morocco continues to enjoy unity, solidarity, security and development.
This is the way to remain faithful to the heroes of this epic revolution,first and foremost my revered grandfather His Majesty King Mohammed V and my venerable father His Majesty King Hassan II – may they rest in peace -, along with all the valiant martyrs of the nation.