By Taoufik Moktadir
By Taoufik Moktadir
Morocco World News
Philadelphia, August 9, 2012
Those of us who watched Benkiane’s recent televised interview on Aljazeera knew that along with the eloquence, witticism, spontaneity and insight that has made Benkirane interesting to watch and has set him apart as an accomplished conversationalist and an agile debater, the broadcast was going to draw a lot of media attention. It was not only expected, but also obvious and justifiable that the opposition and the media allied with it would try to poke holes in the Prime Minister’s arguments and criticize him on issues where they believed him to have gone wrong.
However, the reaction of the media exceeded anything anybody was prepared for. What was expected to be a sign of a healthy and functioning democracy turned out to be a chorus of frivolous charges and accusations some of which were so farfetched that they drew more surprise than serious consideration. The entire event was blown out of proportion, statements, otherwise thought to be innocuous, were taken completely out of context. While certain organizations waited days before they suddenly felt that Benkirane made insensitive remarks against them for which they demanded an apology. I do not know what is so controversial about admitting the difficulty of prosecuting corruption crimes committed in the past.
The opposition’s narrative treated the issue as if Benkirane is granting a general amnesty to people accused of genocide or atrocities and crimes against humanity. It is astonishing to think, that all the while, the media, while dissecting every single part of the interview, never remembered to mention that Benkirane clearly stated that the most serious offenses will not go unpunished. Furthermore, if the opposition is trying to garner popular support and prepare for future elections, one of the most puzzling criticisms was the one targeting the man himself. He was accused of not observing the formalities and lacking the decorum befitting a head of government. These are exactly the qualities that have endeared Benkirane to the people, when the opposition and the media are criticizing him on these issues, they are
being very effective at distancing themselves from the public and jeopardizing their chances at the ballot boxes.
One small detail that the critics seemed to have overlooked in Benkirane’s interview on Aljazeera news network is what the taxi driver said when asked by the journalist about his opinion regarding the government’s decision to raise the prices of fuel. His answer was nothing short of a decisive vote of confidence and a clear vindication of the Prime Minister and his cabinet by the silent majority. Benkirane, despite what his detractors would have us believe, has done an outstanding job in cementing his earlier political gains, and broadening his support base. If elections were to be held in Morocco tomorrow, the result would leave the vocal minority with very insignificant political representation.
The opposition’s biggest blunder is their ignorance of the democratic game. Do they really think that Benkirane’s so called gaffe about women in the “Hamaam” will put the slightest dent in his popularity? This kind of criticism might get support from a very small segment of the population, mainly the liberal upper or upper middle class and some of the educated, but it will find very little resonance amongst the masses, the ones who really matter, and who can either make or break ambitious politicians.
As a matter of fact, the more vocal and acrimonious the criticism of Benkirane gets on issues of this nature, the wider the gap between the opposition and the electorate gets. Criticism if used effectively can yield very tangible results, but these gratuitous tirades against the Prime Minister only shows how frustrated and desperate the opposition has become because of its inability to either offer a viable alternative, or stem the tide of his popularity. So, until the opposition realizes that democracy has begun in earnest in Morocco, keep their personal feelings outside of the political equation and radically change their strategy, Benkirane will continue to rule supreme. And who is to blame him? Personally, as long as he continues to outsmart his opponents and govern responsibly, Benkirane will enlist my full support every single time!
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy
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