Morocco’s King Mohammed VI skipped Kenyan President William Ruto’s inauguration ceremony in Nairobi this week.
He’ll also miss Angolan President João Lourenço’s inauguration in Luanda tomorrow.
Is this because Western Sahara President Brahim Ghali was and will be there?
Or is he embarrassed about his envoy being caught lying about a meeting he had with William Ruto last year.
My betting is the former.
Moroccan officials shamelessly lie about their dealings – particularly their illegal occupation of the former Spanish colony.
They have been caught out many many times and continue regardless.
The Saharawi President was and will be treated with the pomp and protocol befitting a head of state in Nairobi and Luanda.
Morocco has been cautiously mum about it.
Rabat’s silence confirms my earlier assertion that Morocco has replaced its old friend apartheid South Africa as the African bully.
Last month it recalled its ambassador to Tunis when President Kais Saied received Brahim Ghali for the Japanese development summit known as the Tokyo International Conference on African Development.
In addution to withdrawing its ambassador, Morocco also slapped a unilateral trade and sports boycott on Tunisia.
This means Morocco may not share in the $30 million dollars in development aid promised to Africa by Japan at TICAD, because Morocco shunned that gathering.
With the new trade boycott against its neighbour it loses one client for its major exports which are daggers, oranges and prostitutes.
Granted, not a major client. Tunisia is small enough to push around.
So angry was Morocco that it accused Tunisia of being in alliance with France and Algeria in seeking to prolong the Western Sahara conflict.
Another lie, of course.
Morocco is solely responsible for the conflict in the country it has occupied in defiance of the international community since 1975.
Morocco could stop that conflict in a jot by agreeing to allow a referendum on self-determination among the the Saharawi’s under its occupation.
Indeed, Morocco’s promise in 1991 to allow such referendum is what ended the 16-year war with Western Sahara following the occupation.
Sadly that has turned out to be yet another lie from Rabat.
I call Morocco a bully because it enthusiastically gets tough with Tunisia, which is a quarter the size of the kingdom and has a GDP and population three times smaller.
It does this because it perceives Tunisia as having strayed from its impartial stance on Westerns Sahara.
When confronted with countries like Mozambique, Kenya, Angola and South Africa that muscularly support Western Sahara self determination, that have diplomatic relations with the occupied nation and have received Brahim Ghali as its head of state, Morocco is cravenly silent.
Last year Morocco’s ambassador to Nairobi, El Moktar Gambon emerged from a meeting with then Deputy President William Ruto saying his host had accepted that as a rotating member of the United Nations Security Council and a member of the African Peace and Security Council, Kenya should take an impartial stance on Western Sahara.
In fact, Kenya has repeatedly condemned Morocco’s occupation of the country and called it the last vestige of colonialism in Africa.
A furious Ruto nailed the ambassador’s lie and called on his foreign affairs department to take appropriate action.
He pointed out that a clip used by the ambassador to support his lie was in fact a clip of Ruto at a totally different event that had nothing to do with the Moroccan’s claims.
Plainly Morocco’s assertion that it will judge its friendship with African countries by their attitude to Western Sahara applies only to countries. smaller than itself.