Morocco: Abbas Fassi, Political Leader or Political Distraction

Washington, January 19, 2009  -Is Moroccan Prime Minister (PM) Abbas Al-Fassi becoming more of a political distraction and less of a leader of the Moroccan government? A recent attempt by few “Facebookers “  to start a Facebook®  group to denounce what they call “the nepotism and abuse of power “of the Al-Fassi  and El-Fihri families is a window into the political  mind set of the average Moroccan. The Facebook group was an instant hit with more than 14000 members and counting.  Some may dismiss the group as a cluster of young net savvy bored teenagers; however, the comments written on the “Facebook Wall” are serious and alarming.
As more and more youth take to the internet to express their views, frustrations and hopes, mediums such as Facebook and Twitter are becoming a barometer and a bellwether of political pulses in countries where the freedom of the press is curtailed.  For young Moroccans who embraced the Internet and taped into all of its potential, using online vehicles to express  dissatisfaction with PM El-Fassi is a political statement that must be taken seriously by the powers to be.

PM El-Fassi, the General Secretary of the Istiqlal Party (IP), came to power in the aftermath of the very fragmented legislative elections of 2007. The IP ended up with the most numbers of seats in the Balkanized Moroccan Parliament; consequently its General Secretary was chosen to form a coalition government. According to several Moroccan politicians, the choice of Al-Fassi was deliberate. In fact, Mr. El-Fassi is known for his passivity toward change, and for his submissiveness. He was chosen as PM for the purpose of keeping the status-quo alive and not rocking the social “boat”. The El-Fassi government has been tame, unpopular, and ineffective.

During its three years in power, Al-Fassi government has not done much to alleviate the sufferings of the most vulnerable of the Moroccan population. Furthermore, the Government failed miserably in dealing with the single most important challenge facing Moroccans today: unemployment.

The Al-Fassi team gets failing grades in its report card. It falls short in meeting the expectations of the Moroccan people. Be it reforms to the educational system, a new press law, fighting poverty, or battling unemployment, the Al-Fassi government has neither a vision nor a plan on how to tackles these pressing concerns. The current government’s meetings sound like a muted debate without passion or enthusiasm. With few exceptions, team Al-Fassi comes across as insensitive and numb to the average Moroccan’s daily needs.

If challenged, the current Moroccan government will have tough time coming up with a list of past achievements, successful current projects or future plans on how to address the nation’s critical problems. The Al-Fassi government is neither meeting the expectation of the Moroccan people nor inspiring the confidence of the future generations; which explain the fury of a number of comments posted by many Moroccans on Facebook.

However, the natures of some posts on the anti-Abbas Al-Fassi Facebook group were border line racist and should not be tolerated. Several Moroccan have complained about the assignments of several of Al-Fassi family members in some top governmental jobs.  Critics argue that Al-Fassi relatives got the jobs because of their kinship to the PM. The argument does not get lost on the hundreds of thousands of highly qualified Moroccan youth who can find a descent job because of nepotism in the hiring process for government jobs in the Kingdom. The Moroccans have every right to complain about favoritism given to the privileged few in the hiring process, and about preferential treatment given to the well “connected”. Nevertheless, Moroccans should not mix political favoritism with a perceived racist policy favoring one ethnic group or one tribe over others.

As Morocco embarks in a risky and ambitious journey toward regionalism and decentralization, the kingdom needs a strong leader at the head of the government. Mr. Al-Fassi  never looked the part. It may be time for a change that would fit the time and would meet the hopes and ambitions of the Millions of Moroccans.

Comments (3)  

Thomas Hollowell
0 #1 Facebook and the WorldThomas Hollowell 2010-01-20 17:57
Facebook and Twitter and changing the view of the world by allowing people to express themselves. Only in China and such places would this pose a huge problem where the government blocks nearly everything. However, I salute Morocco for keeping its Inet access open to such portals and perhaps the king might read over some of these groups' comments every now and then. He is moving ahead full throttle and will, albeit sometimes slowly, get rid of ministers who are not doing their jobs effectively. I salute you Morocco for your opening the doors to expression!

Thomas, author of
Allah's Garden: A True Story of a Forgotten War in the Sahara Desert of Morocco
0 #2 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Morocco: Abbas Fassi, Political Leader or Political DistractionMorcelli 2010-01-21 02:43
The prime minister was chosen by the king of Morocco, Are you saying that the king picked Abbas because he is known for his "passivity toward change, and for his submissiveness? " ?if that's the case, I totally disagree with you, The king selected Abbas because Istiqlal Party won the election and to make the elections look honest, the king picked someone from the wining party, and to make everyone believe that prime make and initiate change is simply not true and foolish. The only person who can make chance is the king of Morocco, in our constitution no one is above the king. We are simple subjects to serve his majesty inside and outside the country.
0 #3 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Morocco: Abbas Fassi, Political Leader or Political DistractionMUHAMMAD SHOAIB BHATTI 2010-03-02 19:34
His Majesty Honorable Prime Minister of Great Morocco.
Dear Sir,I would like to extend my cordial congratulations on the occasion of Morocco National Day 3rd March.I wish you and peoples of your country well-being and prosperity.The peoples of Pakistan join me in extending to your Majesty and peoples of morocco our warmest congratulations on the auspicious occasion of your National Day.
Our two countries share a special relationship underpinned by close and long-standing personal ties.I am confident that our strong bilateral relations will continue to flourish.I sincere wish that solidarity,mutu al agreements and common work continue to deepen the relationship between Pakistan and morocco and help us create a secure prosperous tomorrow for our nations..Please Accept my warmest Regards and best wishes for your Majesty good health and for the continued peace and success of morocco.
With warm regards,

Sincerely yours,

Central President
Salam Pakistan Party.

Address.House No.254-c,Abadi No.3,Street No.11,Tench Bhatta,Rawalpin di,Pakistan.

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