National Security and the Royal Gendarmerie As New Unofficial Tax Departments

National Security and the Royal Gendarmerie As New Unofficial Tax Departments


For spring break, nothing beats a trip to the North of Morocco, with its beautiful Rif Mountains, its sandy beaches, and the wonderful Mediterranean breeze. Being one with nature, and with the right company, nothing can spoil your mood. At least, that’s what I thought.

I have once heard that nothing hurts more than humiliation and a little money loss. Indeed, this wise saying summarized my state of mind after my encounter with the Gendarmes at one of the countless checkpoints on the national road.

The procedure followed in these checkpoints is known to us all; my documents were present and my car is in its best condition. This wasn’t enough for the checkpoint officer, who was determined to get something out of us. In a desperate attempt to “tax” us, he asked to see the orange “warning triangle”, which by chance happened to be missing from my trunk. The “law” officer’s pitiful move has left me thinking: is it our safety that has led him to take this “bold” move, or is it brining back easy-made money to his superiors? Knowing the Makhzanian state we live in, the second choice seems to me as the more logical.

This is of course just one of the stories that many citizens can recite about the completely unfair fines they were subject to, due to the incredible number of officers positioned in every corner to catch even the smallest driving mistake, or missing break light.

It is not a matter of paying the fine, any reasonable human would accept the fact that one has to pay a fine if they didn’t follow important regulations or if they broke some sort of law. The frustrating part is that both bodies, National Security and the Royal Gendarmerie, have become an investment (a sizeable one) to bring money in, and not to provide security –The advent of the “Tcharmil” phenomenon speaks it all – , or help prevent devastating accidents that take the lives of hundreds each year.

Needless to say, the draconian measures that have been implemented by both bodies should alarm every citizen, and push him to know everything about his rights, and the laws that may put him in a situation similar to the checkpoint encounter. However, what’s more intriguing is where does all the fine money go? The amount of fines collected by every police or Gendarmerie officer is incredible, and no data is available regarding such matters – It is important to note that the right to information  is a constitutional right since 2011.

Thus what we should ask ourselves is: Are we being taxed to the bones to pay for the relatively good security in the country? Or is the average Moroccan being scammed to compensate for our country’s bad management? Who knows, it may be even both.

Taha Slaoui