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Moroccan King fires junior ministers: leadership or scapegoating?

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The North Africa Journal – November 3, 2017 – [Photo:  State auditor Driss Jettou making case against ministers before Moroccan King, leading to dismissals]   In a surprise move, King Mohammed VI dismissed some junior ministers and other officials, allegedly as a result of lack of progress in pushing for economic development in regions affected by popular unrest. Those dismissed included Mohamed Hassad, Minister of Education, Nabil Benabdallah of planning and housing and El Houcine Ouardi of health. A state secretary, a public enterprise Chief Executive (Ali Fassi Fihri of the power and water company ‘Office national de l’électricité et de l’eau potable’ or ONEE), and 14 high-level state employees were also fired.

The King’s decision was made apparently as a result of work from an committee set up by the King to probe the delays in rolling out the economic agenda for the restive region of the Rif’s al-Hoceima, an economic program that was initiated in 2015. The region has been the center of protest over the past months after the death of a fishmonger whose fish was confiscated by police and then crushed to death in a garbage truck. The King’s decision came after meeting with top state auditor, former Prime Minister Driss Jettou, who contributed to the assessment of the situation (cour des comptes). Several former ministers where also blacklisted and said to have been indefinitely banned from holding senior government positions.

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