Aziz Akhannouch, Morocco’s Minister of Agriculture, the president of the RNI party, and a businessman, announced his candidacy for the position of Mayor in Agadir today. Akhannouch is a potential Head of the Government of the next Moroccan government in September 2021.
Akhannouch’s election announcement comes amidst a media and political campaign by various interests to destabilize the Moroccan regime. A number of human rights organizations, international publications, and even officials such as the State Department spokesperson Ned Price, have recently attacked or questioned the independence of Morocco’s judiciary in connection to the recent convictions of Soulaimane Raissouni and Omar Radi on rape and espionage charges.
All these attacks are based on the failure of the Moroccan government diplomacy and its lobbies.
In doing so, these interests attacked Morocco’s sovereignty, implicitly raising questions about the authority of King Mohammed VI. Simultaneously, Amnesty International, and several international publications recently broke the story attacking Morocco for allegedly using the Pegasus surveillance software to spy on journalists and dissidents. No evidence linking Morocco to ownership or use of this software was provided; however, it is hardly a coincidence that the story resurfaced around the time of Radi’s conviction given that the activists fighting for his release had asserted the abuse of the software to spy on Radi.
It is also no coincidence that both developments took place at a time when the US official Brett McGurk had reached out to Morocco to reassert US recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara. Morocco’s diplomatic and lobby circles have remained strangely silent in response to this media maelstrom; however, Mr. Akhannouche, by deed rather than through empty talk, responded to the collusion of domestic and international malcontents in a positive manner – by sponsoring a high-level business event focused on opportunities for energy and rare land earth minerals sectors in Morocco, including the Moroccan Sahara.
The high-level delegation of investors, industry leaders, experts, and former officials will be the first gathering of such stature to visit Dakhla, while participating in other events advancing the growth of the Kingdom’s relations with its allies.