The new position is the most important in her career so far.
Rabat – A member of the Justice and Development Party (PJD) Jamila Moussali has replaced former Minister of Solidarity, Social Development, Equality and Family Bassima Hakkaoui from the same party as part of the government reshuffle on Wednesday, October 9.
The reshuffle comes following an urgent call from King Mohammed VI to give fresh momentum to Morocco’s public services administrations with high-level competencies and elites.
Moussali replaced Hakkaoui, who served as a minister of solidarity since January 2012.
Moussali was born in 1969, in the northern town of Ouezzane. She studied at Mohammed I University in Oujda, where she earned a PhD in history. Moussali also studied law.
The new minister started her political career in 2002, as a member of the parliament for PJD. She served as secretary of the House of Representatives between 2012 and 2015. In 2016, Moussali was appointed as minister delegate to the minister of education.
The official served as a social counselor at Sale city council between 2004 and 2015.
Between 2009 and 2014, Moussali served on several national committees. The strategic committee for the fight against bribery, and the committee for dialogue with civil society around the new constitution were among her appointments.
Moussali is also a member of the Moroccan section of the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC), and the president of the “Wiam” center for family counseling and guidance.
Replacing a controversial minister
Hakkaoui was criticized for her silence on rape and murder cases, as well as violence against women. The former minister made no comment on the case of Khadija, a 17-year-old in Beni Mellal who was gang-raped and forcibly tattooed, and that of Zeinab, a 23-year-old who was gang-raped on a public bus, both in 2017.
In June 2019, Hanane, a 34-year-old woman was brutally raped and killed in Mellah, Rabat. Her entire ordeal was captured on film and circulated on social media. Hakkaoui did not comment publicly on the incident.
The last time Hakkaoui publically commented on the rape of a Moroccan woman, it was the case of Amina El Filali, a 16-year-old girl from Larache, Morocco, who committed suicide by ingesting rat poison on March 10, 2012.
El Filali committed suicide because she was forced to marry Mustafa Fellaq, a man ten years older than her who had raped her twice. The marriage meant that he could escape prosecution thanks to Article 475 of the Moroccan penal code, which, at the time, de-criminalized rape if the rapist later married their victim.
Commenting on the case to the press, Hakkaoui said: “Article 475 of the Penal Code is unlikely to be repealed under pressure from international public opinion. The marriage of the girl to her rapist does not bring her real harm.”
Whether the new minister will take a stronger stance on sexual violence against women remains to be seen.