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.