The monarchy in Morocco holds immense power and is highly revered. However, the lives and actions of the king, his family, and his entourage remain shrouded in mystery, fueling speculation and rumors.
Recently, when a devastating earthquake struck Morocco, King Mohammed VI was in Paris, where he often spends a significant amount of his time. His delayed return to the country and his limited public response, a brief statement, have been met with criticism. There were even claims that officials were paralyzed and awaiting authorization from the king before taking action.
King Mohammed VI, who turned 60 on August 21st, is the wealthiest and most powerful person in Morocco. He holds the position of both the head of the armed forces and, controversially in Islam, religious matters as the Commander of the Faithful. As the head of state, he oversees a constitutional monarchy, where real power is wielded by advisers and ministers who are often his close friends.
Mystery surrounds life at the royal palace, with limited information available about the king’s health and personal relationships. Courtiers and family members compete for his attention and affection, leading to speculation about the state of his affairs. Rumors are rampant in Morocco due to the controlled media and the king’s aversion to interviews or news conferences.
Despite the opaqueness surrounding the monarchy, Morocco has been seen as a success story in North Africa, known for its stability and attractiveness to industry and tourism. The country has also been a reliable counterterrorism partner to the United States and the West. However, the ambiguity surrounding the king’s power and personal life has slightly tarnished its reputation.
Critics have pointed out the government’s slow response to crises, such as the recent earthquake, suggesting that action is delayed until authorized by the king. This pattern was observed in a previous earthquake in 2004, where officials were absent until the king’s appearance.
Inside the court, there is growing dissatisfaction with the king’s close relationship with the Azaitar brothers, particularly Abubakr Abu Azaitar, a German-born Moroccan mixed martial arts fighter. This has caused rifts between the king and his advisers, leading to fear and resentment within the court.
Morocco is a conservative society where the monarchy is highly respected, despite the disparity between the wealthy elite and the impoverished masses. Criticism of the king is rare due to severe penalties and a weakened political opposition. However, those who have left the country feel more at liberty to speak out.
Overall, the monarchy remains a powerful force in Morocco, but the secrecy and ambiguity surrounding the king’s life and decision-making process have led to criticism and speculation.