Mauritanian MP Noma bint Mogaya had an outburst against the Ould Abdel Aziz government recently, calling pro-Ould Abdel Aziz MPs hypocrites, rounding off with a long Qur’anic quotation. Her remarks were censored on state television. (In Arabic, will attempt a translate parts of it if time allows, later. Readers are welcome to their translations in the comments box, too.)
Note: The references to corruption are meant to refer to Ould Abdel Aziz’s relationship with Mohamed Bouamatou, one of Mauritania’s wealthiest men. It should be understood in the context of the false anti-corruption activities of the current government, causing much indignation and irritation in the country. No instance is more exemplary than the case of Ould Nagi, et al. Earlier this fall, when the government made much about the arrest of a series of bankers — including the former governor of the Central Bank of Mauritania (BCM), Sid’El Moctar Ould Nagi — for “economic crimes” this was to direct attention away from Bouamatou who has been charged with using usury to bankrupt the national airliner, as well as other firms. He was one of Ould Abdel Aziz’s greatest campaign donors and remains among his closest allies. The so-called “Ould Nagi” affair resulted in the ex-head of the central bank being forced to return $95 million in embezzled funds. The CEOs of several other banks were also implicated in the ring of corruption. The cynical say that the funds brought back to the public by the arrest of these fiends hardly approaches the potential gains that would be made if the government were to investigate and hold to account members of the president’s own entourage, by which practically everyone means Bouamatou. Bouamatou, it is said has aggressively working to expand his own business empire in the last two years, frequently by questionable means and at the expense of large existing institutions.
The Ould Nagi case, then, is quite cosmetic, especially given that the funds in question were embezzeled in 2001 and 2002. Ould Abdel Aziz has gone a binge for sacking members of government for corruption or incompetence, causing a grave sense of insecurity and paranoia in the ranks. After the December kidnappings, he moved to sack military men for slipping up on the anti-terror front. The result has been increasing dissatisfaction in the barracks. The “Ould Nagi Pandora’s Box” appears to have set ill at east both those with dirty records and accounts with the opposition.
Update: For the non-Arabic-speakers: Nasser at Dekhnstan has an English transcription of the video. His post includes notes on Mogaya’s repeated references to Gen. Ould Abdel Aziz’s Moroccan family connections and calling him out on practically any issue one can think of. Readers will also enjoy her lines smashing the myth of Ould Abdel Aziz as “the president of the poor,” a label shown to be spurious earlier this autumn by Ould Abdel Aziz’s own inattention.