Ye­men at risk of ‘big famine’: UN

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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

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