Morocco: Accountability Matters, Impunity Bygone

As in all democracies wherein ministers and senior officials are held accountable for their failures, King Mohammed VI sacked on Tuesday four ministers following delays in development programs in the country’s northern region.

The ministers of education, health and housing as well as a secretary of State of professional training were fired after the King received a report by the accounting office on project “Al Hoceima: Manarat Al Moutawassit”.

The auditors’ report found that “several sectors of government and public institutions” haven’t fulfilled their commitments in implementing development projects worth nearly $700 million.

The report said the explanations provided by the concerned officials do not justify the delay in implementing this development program. It also said that the central monitoring commission in charge of the follow up of the “Al Hoceima: Manarat Al Moutawassit” met in February 2017, 16 months after the signing of the agreement related to the project, while the local monitoring commission was unable to encourage the various partners and spur the required momentum for such a project.

Following the failures identified by the auditors, the Moroccan King decided to remove the ministers and officials who showed incompetence and did not honor their commitments. The royal decision was applauded by Moroccans of all walks of life, saying the move shows clearly that nobody is above the law and that laxity is no longer tolerated.

No doubt, good governance requires that those responsible for policy-making, implementation and public expenditure be held to account for their actions.

Some analysts describe the royal move as a “political seism” which was expected to happen following the sharp criticism voiced by the King in his latest speeches.

On Oct.13, King Mohammed VI addressed MPs, saying “as the guarantor and custodian of the rule of law, and the first person to respect it, I have never hesitated to hold to account anyone who has patently underperformed while carrying out his or her professional or national duties.”

“The situation today commands greater firmness in order to put an end to complacency and to disregard for citizens’ interests”, added the Sovereign, stressing the need for a continuous monitoring of the progress made in the implementation of social and development programs and for a systematic, impartial assessment of the phases carried out.

As members of Parliament, public servants and elected officials, “You are accountable before God, the people and the King for the situation prevailing in the country”, said the Sovereign in his speech.

Therefore, “you are expected to engage in national efforts responsibly and in good faith in order to change the situation, without regard for any political or partisan considerations”, he added, urging MPs and officials to fulfill their national duties for the benefit of the nation and citizens.

In his State of the Nation speech of last July, the Monarch said : “To all those concerned I say: ‘Enough is enough!’ Fear God in what you are perpetrating against your homeland. Either discharge your obligations fully or withdraw from public life. There are plenty of honest men and women in Morocco”.

“This situation can no longer be tolerated because the homeland’s interests and those of the citizens are at stake. I am choosing my words carefully here, and I know what I am saying because it comes after deep reflection”, warned the Sovereign.

And the King was not just walking the talk; he took a firm decision warning all government and public officials that the impunity era is bygone and that the constitutional accountability principle will be applied to all.

 

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