By Ismail Bardaoui
By Ismail Bardaoui
Rabat – The uprisings of 2011 undoubtedly played a decisive role in leading the PJD, the party from an Islamist background, to gain power at the last legislative elections. At that time, the PJD portrayed themselves as the only party capable of responding to the protesters’ demands for change and placating the wave of protests. The PJD seems to have succeeded in transitioning the country away from this wave of social protests; yet, the extent to which the party succeeded in making efficient reforms and fighting corruption and arbitrary power, as was their slogan during the electoral campaign, is now questionable.
It would be mistaken to expect a PJD-led government to be willing and able to implement reforms responding totally to the fundamental changes demanded by the protesters, since the people’s ceiling of aspiration is always higher than that of political parties who have their own political calculations and restrictions. Still, people were certainly expecting more than what has been achieved in this regard. They expected some sort of efficient measures and bold policies against corruption in both the economic and political arenas. However, the measures and policies adopted by the current government can be anything but effective.
Most of the measures actually taken by the government to fight corruption overlook the serious problems of bribery and corruption in public affairs and major business deals that severely impact the country’s economy. As a matter of fact, Transparency International ranked Morocco 88th in their corruption index from among 168 countries in 2015, and reported concern that Moroccan corruption and bribery strongly prove the ineffectiveness of governmental policies against corruption. Furthermore, the parliament’s failure to legislate about the right to access information is another hindrance to reporting and pursuing corruption cases. Yet, hopefully, the government’s last announcement of its 10-year strategy to fight corruption can be the light at the end of the tunnel.
On the other hand, the current government does not seem to have done any better in regards to political corruption. While the 20th of February Movement’s protesters raised strong slogans against some political figures and even parties whom they consider corrupt and willing to dominate the political field, and the PJD themselves led a fierce attack against what they called a desire for political domination and a one-party system, especially during 2011’s electoral campaign, such figures and parties are still securing victory in various important elections. This is still the case because political corruption finds an arable social climate.
Fighting corruption in Morocco requires strong political will. It must include strengthening the state’s legal arsenal to restrain the effect of this phenomenon, protecting citizens who report cases of corruption, and guaranteeing their right to access information. Fighting corruption also needs a societal approach. The phenomenon is widespread in society, especially in rural areas where education and political awareness were impeded for political motives in the past. Hence, promoting education and raising awareness about the impact of corruption on the country are key factors for success in the fight against corruption.
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