Kenza Elazkem

Kenza Elazkem was born and raised in Marrakech, Morocco. She later moved to the United States to finish high school and pursue a degree in Political Science at the University of Texas in San Antonio. During her undergraduate studies, she participated in an exchange program at Hanyang University in Seoul, South Korea. Kenza's interest for development started then. After completing her degree, Kenza joined the Carter Center for an internship in the field of democracy and election observation. She is currently pursuing a dual master's degree in International and Sustainable development between Hankuk University for Foreign Studies in South Korea, and the United Nations University for Peace in Costa Rica. Kenza taught English at a rural primary school in Costa Rica and also joined a women's Capoeira collective. She is eager to learn more about the world and enjoys cooking, traveling and sharing. After the fellowship, she wrote: "The best aspect of the fellowship was to see the process of carpet making and sharing meals with the women's families. Through the fellowship, I have learned the NGO jargon in Arabic. I am also more aware of my surroundings and pay more attention to detail now." Contact: kelazkem@advocacynet.org



Elections: Democracy and Culture

22 Oct

Elections: Democracy and Culture

At the Ain Leuh Weavers Cooperative, candidates started showing up as early as late June leading their campaigns for the professional elections to be held on the 7th of August, 2015.The first meetings were held for the candidates to listen to what the women had to say and to try to address their concerns. These candidates are to represent different carftsmen and craftswomen in the local Chamber of Artisans.

The first meeting with a candidate was held on June 28th. The candidate, Hdan, came with two other people: a woman who was helping him with his campaign and who happens to be the president of the regional association for beauticians, and a representative of the Rassemblement National des Indepedents (The National Rally of Independents), a rather prominent political party in Morocco.

They sat in a circle with the women and the conversation started with certain formalities such as checking how many women are registered with the cooperative, double-checking names and ID numbers. Then, the conversation moved on to the importance of equality between men and women and the role women play in developing and keeping alive the traditional crafts industry.

I couldn’t help but notice however how the equality discourse still put masculinity over femininity. I remember the candidate addressing the ladies and saying that “you are men not just women anymore, you can work just as men do…”.

The conversation was often going in two different directions, maybe even opposite ones. It seemed as neither side was listening to the other.

When the candidate was speaking about capacity building, the members of the Ain Leuh Weavers Cooperative were upbraiding him for only coming to visit when it was time for elections. And when the women were voicing their concerns about a decline in sales or the deterioration of their atelier, the candidate was asking them to join his party using terms to advocate the party such as futurist look on the industry. The women hosted the candidate in the cooperative for a good two hours and upon him leaving, they started their own conversation.

Most of them were already set on who they were to elect. It was candidate of the Parti Authenticite et Modernity (Authenticity and Modernity Party). The ladies know him personally and have told me how he has helped them many times in the past even when he was not in office. He ran in the previous elections and the women praised him for being present for the past five or six years even when not elected.

In Morocco, every 6 years, elections are held to elect the members of the Counsel and of offices of different professional chambers (commerce, industry & services, agriculture, artisans & maritime fishing.) There are 12 Chambers of Artisans throughout the Kingdom. Candidates can affiliate themselves to the different political parties who have instituted parallel organizations to assist small-business owners, artisans and traders in their journeying. These professional chambers are meant to be bridging institutions that build the capacity of economic operators, artisans in this case, and enable them to support their projects vis-a-vis political, legislative and consultative institutions.

The women did not pay so much attention to which political party the candidate was part of. They knew the name and the symbol of the party but did not necessarily care for what the party stands for since they cared more about the relationship they held with the candidate. Some political parties are aware of these personal relationships that are very important in Moroccan society. And rather than sending out their own candidates when elections approach, they choose candidates who already hold these strong relations with their entourage and try to win them over to join their respective party. This entourage will become their constituency once they present their candidature to elections.


The women discuss the events of the election day after casting their votes

In fact, professional chambers are often used as a stepping stone for the economic elite to access elective office, in particular the Chamber of Representatives of the national parliament through their arranged communication networks. When in theory , these institutions are to achieve what economic operators cannot achieve individually, thanks to their presence in the Chamber of Representatives, in prefetural and provincial boards, administrative boards of a number of institutions…, and their prerogatives.

What is interesting here is how imbued democracy is by local culture and customs. You can introduce an electoral system but this does not mean that citizens will vote for candidates because of the vision they hold or the values and promises of a given party, they will vote for the ones they personally know and think can serve their interest. The old ways will not go away, they will rather be institutionalized. 

[content-builder]{“id”:1,”version”:”1.0.4″,”nextId”:3,”block”:”root”,”layout”:”12″,”childs”:[{“id”:”2″,”block”:”rte”,”content”:”

Elections: Democracy and Culture <\/strong><\/p>\n\n

At the Ain Leuh Weavers Cooperative, candidates started showing up as early as late June leading their campaigns for the professional elections to be held on the 7th of August, 2015.The first meetings were held for the candidates to listen to what the women had to say and to try to address their concerns. These candidates are to represent different carftsmen and craftswomen in the local Chamber of Artisans.<\/p>\n\n

The first meeting with a candidate was held on June 28th. The candidate, Hdan, came with two other people: a woman who was helping him with his campaign and who happens to be the president of the regional association for beauticians, and a representative of the Rassemblement National des Indepedents (The National Rally of Independents), a rather prominent political party in Morocco.<\/p>\n\n

They sat in a circle with the women and the conversation started with certain formalities such as checking how many women are registered with the cooperative, double-checking names and ID numbers. Then, the conversation moved on to the importance of equality between men and women and the role women play in developing and keeping alive the traditional crafts industry. <\/p>\n\n

I couldn’t help but notice however how the equality discourse still put masculinity over femininity. I remember the candidate addressing the ladies and saying that \u201cyou are men not just women anymore, you can work just as men do…\u201d.<\/p>\n\n

The conversation was often going in two different directions, maybe even opposite ones. It seemed as neither side was listening to the other.<\/p>\n\n

When the candidate was speaking about capacity building, the members of the Ain Leuh Weavers Cooperative were upbraiding him for only coming to visit when it was time for elections. And when the women were voicing their concerns about a decline in sales or the deterioration of their atelier, the candidate was asking them to join his party using terms to advocate the party such as futurist look on the industry. The women hosted the candidate in the cooperative for a good two hours and upon him leaving, they started their own conversation.
\n<\/p>\n\n

Most of them were already set on who they were to elect. It was candidate of the Parti Authenticite et Modernity (Authenticity and Modernity Party). The ladies know him personally and have told me how he has helped them many times in the past even when he was not in office. He ran in the previous elections and the women praised him for being present for the past five or six years even when not elected.<\/p>\n\n

In Morocco, every 6 years, elections are held to elect the members of the Counsel and of offices of different professional chambers (commerce, industry & services, agriculture, artisans & maritime fishing.) There are 12 Chambers of Artisans throughout the Kingdom. Candidates can affiliate themselves to the different political parties who have instituted parallel organizations to assist small-business owners, artisans and traders in their journeying. These professional chambers are meant to be bridging institutions that build the capacity of economic operators, artisans in this case, and enable them to support their projects vis-a-vis political, legislative and consultative institutions.<\/p>\n\n

The women did not pay so much attention to which political party the candidate was part of. They knew the name and the symbol of the party but did not necessarily care for what the party stands for since they cared more about the relationship they held with the candidate. Some political parties are aware of these personal relationships that are very important in Moroccan society. And rather than sending out their own candidates when elections approach, they choose candidates who already hold these strong relations with their entourage and try to win them over to join their respective party. This entourage will become their constituency once they present their candidature to elections.<\/p>\n\n

\n

\n\t

\n\t\t

\"\"
\nThe women discuss the events of the election day after casting their votes<\/span><\/span><\/b><\/td>\n\t<\/tr>\n<\/tbody>\n<\/table>\n\n

In fact, professional chambers are often used as a stepping stone for the economic elite to access elective office, in particular the Chamber of Representatives of the national parliament through their arranged communication networks. When in theory , these institutions are to achieve what economic operators cannot achieve individually, thanks to their presence in the Chamber of Representatives, in prefetural and provincial boards, administrative boards of a number of institutions…, and their prerogatives.<\/p>\n\n

What is interesting here is how imbued democracy is by local culture and customs. You can introduce an electoral system but this does not mean that citizens will vote for candidates because of the vision they hold or the values and promises of a given party, they will vote for the ones they personally know and think can serve their interest. The old ways will not go away, they will rather be institutionalized. <\/p>“,”class”:””}]}[/content-builder]

Posted By Kenza Elazkem

Posted Oct 22nd, 2015

Enter your Comment

Submit

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

 

Fellows

2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003