Wide Angle

Retrospective of the times that the Palace announced King Mohammed VI was sick

Recently, the Royal cabinet has become accustomed to communicating about the illnesses of King Mohammed VI. The communiqué published yesterday is therefore not a surprise. While this is seen as an exception for some neighboring countries, it is nowadays a common practice that stands as a primordial rule in the exercise of power in other regions.

King Mohammed VI./Ph. DR
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With Mohammed VI in power, the King’s health is no longer a State secret. It is even at the heart of several communiqués issued by the Ministry of the Household, Protocol and Chancellery.  The statement published yesterday goes hand in hand with the «transparency» policy initiated eight years ago. 

An unprecedented and skillfully calculated «openness» that takes into account the characteristics of a country like Morocco where the health of the Head of the State, the Prime Minister, Ministers and other senior officials is seen as a taboo.


On August the 25th 2009, the same source issued a statement signed by Professor Abdelaziz Maaouni, the King’s private physician, announcing that the sovereign was suffering from «a rotavirus infection with digestive signs and acute dehydration requiring five days of convalescence» adding that the King’s health was not to be worried about. 

The above-mentioned statement had back then made headlines in a Spanish-language newspaper. The second time that the Palace communicated about the King’s health dates back to the 27th of November 2014 to justify the postponing of an official visit of the Monarch to China. «The personal doctor of His Majesty the King specifies that the sovereign is suffering, since Monday, from an acute illness with fever 39.5 degrees and bronchitis», says the same source without revealing the period of convalescence needed. 

Three years later, Mohammed VI was sick again. Moroccans who followed his speech on November the 6th 2015 delivered in Laayoune on the 40th anniversary of the Green March were intrigued by his inability to pronounce the text. On November the 10th, 2015, the Royal cabinet announced the «suspension» of the Sovereign’s activities. A statement by the Palace indicated that the King was suffering from «flu syndrome with broncho-pulmonary and oropharyngeal and in particular an extinction of voice» and must rest for 10 to 15 days. 

After an absence of several weeks, the Monarch returned to Laayoune to complete his visit’s program by presiding a Council of ministers later. 

The «transparency» initiative on the health of Mohammed VI has its limitations. This is reflected in the silence of the Royal cabinet on the causes of the two official appearances of the Sovereign, assisted by an orthopedic cane.

The first time was in November 2012 in Nador where the King inaugurated social projects according to the INDH governmental policy.

A scene that was repeated on July 7, 2015 in Mohammedia. The Sovereign was wearing a djellaba and presided over the ceremony to launch the construction of a training and integration complex.

In both cases, the Palace did not issue a press release explaining the reasons for the use of the cane.

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