By Craig E. Peter
By Craig E. Peter
New York – Writing about Morocco’s Prince Moulay Hicham is quite a complicated task that many Moroccans avoid. The position that the Moroccan prince has adopted in recent years against his cousin, King Mohammed VI, makes the task all the more complex. Whenever someone writes about him from a critical perspective, they are considered biased against the Prince.
However, without being labeled for or against the Prince, his actions and contradictions should push anyone interested in Moroccan politics, its stability, and its future to explore the rationale behind his acerbic criticism of his cousin and the Moroccan monarchy.
In fact, many in Morocco and abroad are asking this question: what goal does Prince Moulay Hicham seek? Is he dreaming of becoming Morocco’s future King? Does he wish to destabilize his country in order to further his own personal ambitions? Does he incarnate the change he claims to represent?
A few years after the coronation of King Mohammed VI in July 1999, Prince Moulay Hicham chose to self-exile himself and stood in support of any voices which are critical of the Moroccan monarch.
To help achieve his goal, he surrounds himself with a number of Moroccan and foreign journalists. He also aligns with leftists who have grown notorious for having close ties with him, they defend his personal agenda and present it as the only way Morocco can achieve progress to ensure the well-being of its citizens.
However, over the years many journalists who had previously believed in the Prince’s project to “change Morocco” have been disappointed to witness that the democratic values he claims to defend are a façade that hardly hides his ambitions to destabilize Morocco and become, perhaps one day, the future Moroccan monarch.
The tactic used by the widely-known Prince is simple: he presents himself as a pro-democracy activist who is at odds with an alleged Moroccan system that has no interest in putting the country on the right track towards a genuine democratic system governed by the rule of law and accountability. The Prince has excelled at favoring Western media that is prone to showing sympathy and support for anyone who advocates democracy and human rights.
In his quest to earn international recognition as a genuine advocate for democracy and the rule of law, Moulay Hicham has been giving lectures in universities around the world; especially in France and the United States. He has also been active in writing op-eds in a number of international publications, such as the French monthly magazine, Le Monde Diplomatique.
The common denominator of the messages that he seeks to convey is that, unlike other members of the Moroccan royal family whom he portrays as “bent on keeping the monarchy’s privileges,” he is the only one who believes in the necessity for Morocco to reform its monarchy and adopt a political system similar to that of Spain and the United Kingdom.
However, the Prince’s quest to present himself as possible alternative in Morocco and to earn the sympathy and support of the Moroccan people has backfired. Even those who, at some point, thought of him as fit to represent Morocco at the international level have grown tired of his rhetoric. They conclude that he does not seek to ensure stability in Morocco and the well-being of all Moroccans, but rather to achieve his personal ambitions, and perhaps one day, become Moroccan King. Some think that Moulay Hicham may be suffering from schizophrenic disorders, but they avoid bringing this up out of respect for the royal family. Perhaps this disorder is what pushes him to dream of taking the throne from his cousin, towards whom he reportedly has held deep animosity for since his childhood.
In his quest to build a reputation as a “clean” Prince, Moulay Hicham forgot that he first and foremost has to set an example for his fellow Moroccans by abiding by the law of the land. The ambitious Prince has been accused of avoiding taxes for all the assets he possesses in Morocco, which he inherited from his late father, Prince Moulay Abdellah. Another question many Moroccans ask is: does he pay taxes to Moroccan authorities? If not, that would mean he is benefiting from the status afforded to him by a country whose political system he keeps lambasting on Western media. And since he has been living for years in the United States, does he pay taxes to the American government? The American tax system is one the toughest in the world and no matter what people can do to avoid it; they end up caught by its Internal Revenue Service, (IRS).
His actions beg the question: how can the Moroccan people believe Moulay Hicham’s words when he fails to discharge one of the main duties of citizens, the payment of taxes? If the Prince was truthful in his intentions, he should forgo all the privileges that his status of Prince affords him. He should also forgo traveling for free on Royal Air Maroc, pay back all the millions of dirhams he owes to several Moroccan banks, as well as give away all the thousands of hectares of land he possesses throughout Morocco. Among the other princes, he is believed to be the only one who did not pay back his outstanding debts to different institutions after he inherited his father’s assets.
As he has failed to do so, he has just proven that he is content to benefit from the rentier economy he inherited from his father.
It is time for Prince Moulay Hicham to come to terms with the fact that Moroccans are attached to their monarchic system and to their legitimate king, who represents the unity of the country and is the guarantor of its stability. The message that I always receive when I ask my Moroccan friends about the economic situation of their country is that while it is true that Morocco is still facing an array of social, political and economic problems, they are not willing to sacrifice their stability and the future of their country for the sake of a Prince whose only concern is to become the future king of Morocco.
It appears that Moroccans’ conviction that the monarchy is their guarantor of their country’s stability was reinforced by the turmoil displayed via the Arab Spring that shook many Arab countries, such as Syria, Libya and Yemen. Moroccans believe in the historical and religious beliefs of their beloved King Mohammed VI, and for this reason, they are not ready to embrace the ambitions of anyone who is bent on putting this stability in jeopardy.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy