Washington D.C. – It is sad to see a small, little known and extraneous country like Zambia “control” the fate of Morocco’s efforts to re-join the African Union (AU).
When you take into consideration King Mohammed VI’s gigantic efforts of to bring back his nation to the Pan African organization, the performance of Moroccan officials and their public diplomacy to keep the momentum going seems remarkably weak and chaotic.
After years of entrusting feeble but loyal representatives to reach out to governmental and non-governmental agencies around the world with little results, it is time for Rabat to adopt a new approach and bring new faces. Morocco does not need activists who know how to post Facebook pictures of insignificant and inconsequential meetings; it rather craves Moroccans living overseas who know how to take on the international press with interviews, press releases and op-ed pieces in influential news magazines.
Moroccan officials’ inability to capitalize on King Mohammed’s VI success in Africa is just one example of the public diplomacy’s failure. Despite the presence of millions of Moroccans overseas, or as the government call them “Marocains Résidant à l’Etranger (MRE)”, in Europe and North America, Moroccan positions are hardly represented in the host countries’ media and governmental and legislative circles.
Questionable choices of Moroccan diaspora’s representatives, weak diplomats, and unprepared officials made the Moroccan public diplomacy irrelevant and inapt. The issues of lack of qualifications among some of the community leaders in Europe and North America have rendered Morocco’s attempts to garner the powers of the MRE futile.
With an abundance of well-qualified and respected European and North American residents and citizens of Moroccan descent, it should be easy to harvest talents to represent and advance the Kingdom’s agenda around the globe. Instead, most of the successful and influential MRE have decided to shy away from putting their names and reputations to back the old country.
This reluctance is due to the odd personnel decisions of the Moroccan government agencies that tend to choose weak, incompetent and controversial figures to lead their few public diplomacy efforts around the world.
Rabat has allocated significant budgets to promote its positions in the Western Sahara conflict and to publicize recent Royal visits to Africa. Yet, once the King leaves the scene, Moroccan officials and diplomats seems impotent to ride the energy.
Despite its clear failures, officials insist on using the same “public diplomacy” strategies that have flopped to promote Morocco’s positions. Adding to the mix, the current political impasse to form a new government in Rabat has added a new degree of pandemonium.
As political leaders continue to catfight over ministerial positions in a never ending discussion to form a government, the Algeria backed Polisario representatives are sabotaging the Kings’ recent success in Africa and mounting a rigorous attack in Latin America.
It is difficult to find Moroccan officials or “public diplomats” speaking to the international media explaining and promulgating their nation’s worldwide positions. Apart from postings pictures and inadequately written statements on Facebook, these “envoys” have yet to score a diplomatic coup. In fact, today the European Union and the United States does not consider the Western Sahara Moroccan.
There are Moroccans who hold highly respected positions in France, Belgium, Holland, Canada and the United States, just to name few countries. It is time for Moroccan officials to face their misplaced pride and ask help form a “cream of the crop” that can advantage their native land if asked and approach by the appropriate agencies. Their support will cost nothing but will bring more respect and influence than any high flying public relation firms could ever deliver.
It is pitiful that Zambia, a country with no relations to North Africa, can put hurdles in Morocco’s strategy in Africa. If officials had a strong and long lasting diplomatic strategy in Africa and around the world, a small African nation’s position would have been immaterial to the status and prestige of the Kingdom in the continent.
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