Yemen at risk of ‘big famine’: UN
THE United Nations humanitarian chief warns that Yemen is on the verge of widespread famine, with about half of the population completely relying on humanitarian aid for survival. Addressing the Security Council on Tuesday, UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock said, “there is a clear and present danger of an imminent and great big famine engulfing Yemen.”
Lowcock told the UN’s most powerful body that this famine would be “much bigger than anything any professional in this field has seen during their working lives”.
He said that “the situation is now much graver” than when the world governing body last warned of a risk of famine at the beginning of 2017 and again last November, because “of the sheer number of people at risk”.
According to Lowcock, last month’s estimate that 11 million people could soon face “prefamine conditions” actually stood closer to 14 million — about half of Yemen’s population.
Lowcock said last month that the worsening food crisis was in large part the result of an intensification of fighting around the key port city of Hodeidah.
“Fierce clashes continue in Hodeidah, including intense fighting, shelling and air raids in Hodeidah City over the last several days,” Lowcock said.
“Yemen is almost entirely reliant on imports for food, fuel and medicines,” Lowcock added. “And the available foreign exchange — from what little remains of oil exports, from money sent home by Yemenis out of the country, and from international assistance — has been simply inadequate to finance adequate levels of imports to support the population.”
Fighting near Hodeidah has escalated since June 13 after the Saudi-UAE alliance launched a wide-ranging operation to retake the strategic seaport.
Hodeidah has been under the control of Houthi rebels since 2014, along with other coastal cities and much of northern Yemen.
The city’s seaport was responsible for delivering 70 percent of Yemen’s imports — mostly humanitarian aid, food and fuel — pre2015. The Saudis have accused the Houthis, who reportedly generate $30m to $40m a month in revenue from the port, of using the port to smuggle in weapons from Iran. — AP A COMPLAINT to the Press Ombudsman that Zulu monarch, King Goodwill Zwelithini’s proper title was not used every time he was mentioned in a Daily Dispatch story, has been dismissed.
In the complaint, “Tristan Gouws” complained that in the story, Zwelithini’s name was mentioned seven times without his “title, status or surname” being used.
It is not clear from the complaint who Gouws is or if he is connected to the royal household in any way. News24 understands that it is not uncommon for people to complain to the ombudsman and other forums about the usage of royal titles without being connected to the monarch in question. The complaint was about a story run by the Daily Dispatch on September 17, headlined: “Zwelithini chosen to enrobe E Cape king”. The paper reported that Zwelithini was asked to officially enrobe Western Mpondoland King Ndamase Ndlovuyezwe Ndamase at his coronation in October.
According to the Press Ombudsman’s ruling, the Daily Dispatch’s internal ombud, Kariem Hassan, said it was the paper’s style to only use a person’s title once. Thereafter, the paper would use the person’s surname, not as a sign of disrespect, “but rather to have a fluid copy flow which is not cluttered by too many honorifics”.
“It is the norm with all media and it does not flout the press code at all,” said Hassan.
Press Ombudsman Johan Retief dismissed the complaint and said: “The practice to mention somebody’s title only when that person is first mentioned in a story is an accepted journalistic practice, both in this country and internationally — irrespective of any kind of ‘cultural demand’ to the contrary. Nowhere is it a sign of disrespect, as it is done solely for practical purposes. “In fact, I have done precisely the same during my journalistic career, including my findings as ombud.”
But a spokesperson for the King, Prince Thulani Zulu said that the ombudsman had no right to tell newspapers that this practice was allowed.
“We do not condone addressing the king by his surname. We take it as a sign of disrespect.”
He said the ombudsman should have consulted with Zwelithini before making its ruling.
“Newspapers don’t respect our culture. The ombudsman can’t grant permission to people to disrespect the king. That is defamation of character. You can’t grant permission to disrespect someone else’s culture. They must find out from us as the Zulu nation (how the king should be addressed).”
He said the fact that Zwelithini’s title was used at the beginning of the article in question made no difference. “They should say, ‘the King’ instead of ‘Zwelithini’,” he said. It is not an uncommon complaint among royals. Use of the title “chief” instead of “prince” has irked IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi on several occasions. In 2013, he complained to the ombudsman because the Sowetan referred to him as “chief”. He reportedly said, “My title is ‘prince’. While it is disrespectful not to use my correct title, the shorthand journalism may necessitate referring to me simply by name without using a title, although I doubt any respectable newspaper would refer to the Prince of Wales as simply, ‘Charles’.”
He added that the paper was “free to use the Zulu title of ‘Inkosi’”. — Sapa
Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi, a lawyer leading MIFUMI’s legal efforts, said religious arguments mask deep-seated patriarchy in African societies.
“Here the Muslims who practice polygamy, they do so largely because they are African,” Rwakafuuzi said. “It is just Africanist culture. They are hiding behind Islam.”
Atenyo, who recently discovered the potential third wife, said she felt compelled to confront her rival but their phone conversation ended abruptly when the other woman said she needed the money too. “I was in shock. Sometimes I wonder if I am not beautiful. But how can I be beautiful when I spend hours under the scorching sun vending on the streets?” Atenyo said. “I have suffered in this polygamous marriage and I would not wish for any other woman to go through it.”
She worries that her husband, a Christian man, will one day abandon the family altogether as he seeks younger brides. His second wife recently left temporarily while citing neglect, Atenyo said.
“Your co-wife can be brought in anytime, and so if you are not sharp you can leave with a paper bag,” she said. “Nowadays I vend in order to save some money for security, in case he comes with another wife.” — AP