Al Hoceima, Zefzafi, game over?

le 4 octobre 2017

As tensions gradually abate in Al Hoceima and its neighbouring areas, it is now time to take a closer look at this ‘protest’ incident which has held an entire region of the Kingdom in its grip since last October.

It was the tragic death of Moncef Fikri, crushed to death in a garbage compactor as he attempted to retrieve illegally caught fish, that triggered this long series of well-organised protests, underpinned by an elaborate strategy of confrontation against the State in its various guises.

The initial signs of protest emerged with the setting up of the Hirak movement under the leadership of Nasser Zefzafi, an activist who, until then, had only been known on social media.

To better understand the origins of the ‘Anger in the Rif’, it is recommended that one watches the videos filmed on the very evening of Moncef Fikri’s death. Zefzafi can be seen speaking for the first time in the presence of the Al Hoceima governor and other officials. At the very moment that the public officials are promising the crowd transparency, justice and severe punishment for those responsible for this tragic death, he launches into a long and virulent diatribe against the mazhken.

From that very moment onwards, everything was said, scripted and foreseeable.

Fikri and his death have been exploited by a group of activists with a pre-set agenda, their objectives being as heinous as they are destabilising, fuelled by the sole aim of setting the Kingdom’s northern region on fire.

That the Hirak movement and its leaders have been able to successfully sustain this protest and garner growing support from Al Hoceima’s inhabitants is undoubtedly due to the fact that those sponsoring this ‘revolt’ had found a fertile breeding ground in which to further their actions.

Frustration, anger and bitterness have been growing over the years, fuelled by the fact that there has been a lack of any social, economic and infrastructure project benefiting local communities, primarily due to the lack of administrative bodies responsible for these projects.

Despite the King’s desire to spare no efforts in developing the North, there has been a total lack of stewardship, thereby lending credence to the arguments and criticisms put forth by Zefzafi and his group.

Today, the situation is clearer since everyone has understood that this strategy of steadily fuelling tensions has reached its peak with the serious incident that took place in an Al Hoceima mosque during Friday prayers on the very eve of the holy month of Ramadan.

Hirak’s leader did not wish to speak to any one other than the Head of State himself (!!!), rejecting all attempts by the authorities to initiate dialogue. Even a delegation of seven ministers who had come to meet him in Al Hoceima was not enough for such a ‘humble’ character.

And indeed, during this famous congregational prayer, Zefzafi, visibly quite beside himself, gave an extremely provocative and seditious speech, apparent to everybody in the videos that are circulating on the internet.

There are two aspects that must be taken into consideration in this affair. First and foremost, consideration must be given to the legitimate claims of our fellow citizens, inhabitants of a region with a turbulent and distressing historical legacy, which no one has the right to exploit. Because nobody has the right to appropriate and exploit history for their own unsavoury ends.

Priority must be given to the economic, social and infrastructural development of the northern region and to all other regions in the Kingdom, as has already been pointed out in these columns, because the country and its people are in dire need of a different developmental model, focusing instead on urgently solving the issues that are holding back our development rather than on satisfying the maximalist demands of the zealous representatives of international financial institutions.

The bureaucrats of the World Bank and the IMF, seated in their plush air-conditioned offices in Washington, have little interest in the extreme anger that is simmering in the hearts of our country’s common folk. But it is imperative that we listen to them and appease them by taking rapid and concrete action.

It is only by taking action on several fronts that the tensions in the North can be permanently and sustainably resolved without the risk of contagion spreading elsewhere. The second aspect of the crisis and its origins must also be dealt with, by the justice system, in a measured and fair way, respecting the rights of all concerned, including those of the accused and society at large.

The incarceration in an Oukacha prison of Nasser Zefzafi and the six others accused, on the orders of the examining magistrate at the Casablanca Court of Appeals, reveals this aspect of the ‘Rebellion in the Rif’ in a particularly grim light. The charges are as numerous as they are serious and are particularly disturbing as nobody wants the past, which is well behind us but not forgotten, to return to the fore.

Thanks to the justice system’s clear determination to communicate transparently and quickly, we accept that every assurance will be given to ensure that judicial proceedings, although cumbersome yet normal and necessary, are not in any way exploited dishonestly.

Zefzafi and his group must respond and prove that the accusations are baseless and, until proven otherwise, they will benefit from the support of all those who demand that the Law is fully upheld.

But at the same time, we must refrain from any kind of naïve optimism, given that the events of these last few months have raised questions without any satisfactory answers to date. Let’s hope that the Al Hoceima crisis is soon behind us.

First, due to the State’s speedy intervention in satisfying the demands of the people.

Second, by applying the brakes to the seditious actions of small groups that have been organised so as to exploit the legitimate frustrations of our fellow citizens.


Original article : https://lnt.ma/al-hoceima-zefzafi-game-over/