Oral history interview with Kamel Morjane, 2015
Kamel Morjane served as Director for South West Asia, North Africa and the Middle East and Director for Africa with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from 1977 to 1996. In 1996 he was appointed as Permanent Representative of Tunisia to the United Nations and International Organizations in Geneva before his selection as the Secretary-General's Special Representative for the Democratic Republic of Congo in November 1999. Between 2005 and 2010 he served as Defense Minister of Tunisia and as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2010 to 2011.
Scope and Contents
Kamel Morjane narrates the confusion within the Ministry of Interior surrounding Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's flight. Morjane was surprised on January 13th to find that no one knew who was in control of the security situation at the Ministry, and calls from diplomats abroad indicated that they did not understand what was unfolding, either. He believes that Ben Ali could have easily prevented the escalation of demonstrations by allowing more freedom of speech. Earlier examples of this were Black Thursday (1978) and the Bread Riots (1984). He describes pressures to push everyone who had belonged to the Democratic Constitutional Rally (RCD) out of Mohamed Ghannouchi's 2011 government. As a result, he resigned and created the political party Al Moubadara. Morjane compares the outcomes of the Tunisian Revolution to those of Egypt's and Syria's: Tunisia succeeded because it was able to organize two national dialogues. Still, he is concerned that countries with an investment in Tunisia's affairs are not happy with the outcomes of the transition. Finally, Morjane talks about how Mehdi Jomaa was appointed prime minister of the technocratic government.
Copyright by the Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York, 2015.