The boycott, which was launched a month ago, was at first played down by ministers. Finance and Economy Minister Mohamed Boussaid shouted in Parliament saying the boycotters are “dizzy”, his RNI Party chief, agriculture and fisheries minister Aziz Akhanouch, who is also hurt by the boycott campaign, said that the boycotters are “internet brigades”.
The boycott campaign has been launched against the three companies of Afriquia gas stations, Centrale-Danoune milk and Sidi Ali mineral water.
The response of Akhannouch was that of a businessman instead of a politician who should listen to citizens, his future vote base, observers said.
Later, Communication Minister and Spokesperson for the government said the activists who spread fake news to encourage the boycott will be sued.
But the straw that broke the camel’s back is the statement given by Employment Minister, Mohamed Yatim.
“I am not a citizen I am a Minister. If I was a layman citizen you wouldn’t have asked me such a question”, Yatim told a journalist earlier in May.
Such blunders drew a dividing line between citizens and ministers who are perceived as inconsiderate of the daily grievances of citizens. It entrenches the image of politicians in pursuit of self-interest.
Corporate communication is not doing better than the Moroccan government. Some analysts see that the boycott spread thanks to Danoune’s first reaction when an official from the company compared the boycotters to “traitors of the nation.”
Government chief Saad Eddine El Otmani’s silence is not helping either but his reaction has somewhat appeased tensions temporarily. In his speech in front of the Upper House last week, he wished Moroccans happy Ramadan and invited them for a “new beginning” hinting at the recent tensions.
The boycott has uncovered an array of deficiencies in both the government and corporate communication and raised the need for mastering “crisis communication”.