Moroccan king criticises social programmes after protests

2018-07-30 21:52
Morocco's King Mohammed VI (C) delivering a speech to mark the 19th anniversary of his accession to the throne. (Moroccan Royal Palace/AFP)

Morocco's King Mohammed VI (C) delivering a speech to mark the 19th anniversary of his accession to the throne. (Moroccan Royal Palace/AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Moroccan King Mohammed VI has criticised the North African kingdom's social development programmes as overlapping, uncoordinated and missing target populations, in a speech from a northern town that has been the epicenter for social unrest.

The king's remarks on Sunday during the annual Throne Speech has special significance because he spoke in Al-Hoceima, where the Hirak Rif social movement was born and a month after 53 activists were given tough prison sentences.

The monarch said that ministries and public agencies spend time enforcing welfare programmes but they "overlap, lack proper coordination and don't target the populations that actually deserve help".

He did not mention Hirak but warned against "nihilists and other merchants of illusion" who use disfunctions "in order to strike at Morocco's security and stability."

* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER 

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook

The speech marked the 19th anniversary of Mohammed's accession to the throne.

Al Hoceima is in the neglected northern Rif region, where the current king's father never set foot. In 1959 and 1984, Hassan II crushed uprisings in the Rif.

Son Mohammed, 54, has travelled there in the past. But holding his Throne Speech in Al Hoceima was a bold way to dissuade the population against the protest movement while telling public servants to fix the problems.

"I call on the government and all stakeholders concerned to undertake an in-depth, thorough restructuring of national social welfare programmes and policies," the king said in the nationally televised speech.

The Harak Rif movement has demanded that the king fullfil promises he made last year to build a school, a university and a hospital in the region. The seeds of the protest began in October 2016 when an impoverished fish seller in the region was crushed to death while trying to retrieve a valuable swordfish seized by police, who had tossed it into a garbage truck.

Hirak Rif leader Nasser Zefzafi, who launched the campaign for development and job creation, was convicted in June of threatening state security and sentenced to 20 years in prison, along with three activists. Fifty other activists received sentences ranging from one to 15 years for lesser charges.

Read more on:    king mohammed vi  |  morocco  |  northern africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.