News24

Malawi in scathing attack on Madonna

2013-04-11 07:50

Blantyre - Malawi issued a scathing critique of pop diva Madonna on Wednesday, accusing her of exaggerating her contributions to the southern African country and unreasonably demanding special treatment during her tour there last week.

The pop star denied the accusations. Her spokesperson suggested they were prompted by the recent removal of the president's sister as head of Madonna's humanitarian organisation there.

The singer has a long history with the country, which she first visited in 2006. She adopted two children from Malawi and runs several projects there. She was granted VIP treatment during previous visits, including when she last jetted into the country on April 1.

But Madonna apparently was surprised when she learned upon leaving Malawi that that was no longer the case, and that she and her travelling party would have to line up with ordinary passengers and be frisked by airport security.

"There was a directive that Miss Louise Ciccone, travelling on an American passport, and her children Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon, Rocco Ritchie, Mercy James, David Banda Ciccone Ritchie should use the ordinary passenger terminal on their way to their jet," said an aviation official who refused to be named because he is not authorised to speak to the media.

A strongly worded statement by the president's office accused Madonna of trying to use her fame and money to press Malawi into giving her special treatment.

"Granted, Madonna is a famed international musician. But that does not impose an injunction of obligation on any government under whose territory Madonna finds herself, including Malawi, to give her state treatment. Such treatment, even if she deserved it, is discretionary not obligatory," the statement said.

"Where are the ten schools?"

The presidential statement also questioned Madonna's intentions behind her humanitarian efforts in Malawi, alleging that the singer "wants Malawi to be forever chained to the obligation of gratitude".

"Kindness, as far as its ordinary meaning is concerned, is free and anonymous. If it can't be free and silent, it is not kindness; it is something else. Blackmail is the closest it becomes," the statement said.

President Joyce Banda was reportedly angered by Madonna's claims that she has built 10 schools in Malawi, and questioned that statement in widely quoted remarks last week.

"Where are the 10 schools she has built? She is just building school blocks at already existing schools. In some cases she just renovated an already existing block. This is an insult to the people of Malawi. She can't be lying to the world at our expense," Banda said.

In a statement released by her spokesperson, Madonna said he was "saddened" that Banda "has chosen to release lies about what we've accomplished, my intentions, how I personally conducted myself while visiting Malawi and other untruths. I have no intentions of being distracted by these ridiculous allegations".

"I came to Malawi seven years ago with honourable intentions," Madonna said in the statement. "I returned earlier this month to view the new schools we built. I did not ever ask or demand special treatment at the airport or elsewhere during my visit. I will not be distracted or discouraged by other people's political agendas. I made a promise to the children of Malawi and I am keeping that promise."

A spokesperson for Madonna expressed surprise at the most recent criticism and called the claim that the singer had requested special treatment "nonsense".

"Obviously these attacks are influenced by the fact that the President's sister was removed as the head of Madonna's organisation in Malawi due to concerns about mismanagement of $3.8m," said Trevor Neilson, whose Global Philanthropy Group is managing Madonna's projects in Malawi.

Main priority

"As the largest private philanthropist to Malawi we would think that the government would be pleased that she is giving her time and money to one of the poorest countries in the world," Neilson said.

The statement from the president's office dismissed the claim that Banda is angry because her younger sister, Anjimile Mtila-Oponyo, was fired as the CEO for Madonna's charity, Raising Malawi.

The presidential statement said Malawi has played host to other international stars like Chuck Norris, Bono, David James, Rio Ferdinand and Gary Neville "who have never demanded state attention or decorum despite their equally dazzling stature".

Despite the furore, Madonna seemed unfazed.

"My reasons for being here have never changed, I am here because I care deeply about the children of Malawi, that is my main priority," she said last week at the end of her trip.

Madonna travelled there with her two adopted Malawian children, David Banda and Mercy James, both 8, and her children Lourdes, 14, and Rocco, 12.

Comments
  • bmaestro - 2013-04-11 08:02

    IS mADONNA STILL SINGING?

  • justsayingagain - 2013-04-11 08:12

    Madonna fires president's sister after mismanaged money saga. Is this plain revenge & are we finally seeing the nasty side to the "squeaky clean" Mrs. Banda? Or is Madonna bullsh*tting?

  • Sheilan Clarke - 2013-04-11 08:13

    I'm so loving this. Go Pres. Banda!

  • Revelgen - 2013-04-11 08:42

    So sick of these pop stars who think they are above us ordinary mortals and want fancy treatment. Empty people.

  • Guy Alain - 2013-04-11 09:15

    a hungry tummy makes a lot of noise.

  • Brenda Chauke Mudhara - 2013-04-11 10:03

    WHAT IS IT WITH WOMEN? INSECURITY ALL THE TIME. DOES JOYCE BANDA THINK MADONNA IS STEALING THE THUNDER FROM HER? IS IT TRUE THAT HER SISTER WAS FIRED AS HEAD OF MODONNA'S WELL MEANING ORGANISATION? SOME ANSWERSTO THESE QUESTIONS COULD GIVE US DIRECTION. WHAT DOES THE WORD V.I.P MEAN ANYWAY? GIVEN MADONNA'S CONTRIBUTION TO MALAWI DOESN'T SHE FIT THE STATURE? SHAME ON AFRICA AND HER CORRUPTION. SHAME ON AFRICAN LEADERS AND THEIR DEFEATIST ATTITUDES, CORRUPTIONS AND DIRECT RETALIATION TO OPPOSITION AND PEOPLE WHO DO NOT AGREE WITH THEM ALIKE. IT WAS VERY BRAVE OF YOU MADONNA TO FIRE THE PRESIDENT'S SISTER. HERE IN AFRICA WE DO NOT DO THAT.YOU DO THAT YOU DIE IN JAIL. YOU ARE LUCKY NOT TO HAVE BEEN ARRESTED UNDER SOME HAZY CHARGES IN THE FIRST PLACE. SHAME ON AFRICA. SHAME ON ME.

      TinavoMagaisa - 2013-04-11 10:35

      Why are you generalising by saying shame on Africa when this is small internal issues in a small country?

      Munyaradzi Tachiona - 2013-04-11 12:20

      Do you speak Shona like i do,I SAY UNONYADZISA ,shame on you indeed in English ,what is your interests in this issue to the extent of generalising Africa and pitying it over a small issue,Are you happy with modern day slavery where these Pop stars come to Africa to help themselves with our kids,our children to be sent to countries where they will be Un AFRICANISED by being exposed to filthy tendencies which they will grow up adopting,you knwo what i mean,Comments section does not mean if you do not have a comment you just force it plus do not use CAPS/CAPITAL LETTERS as you converse ,it is not the way things are done and it annoys readers and for your own info great things are happening in Africa under your nose as in Kenya they elected a new young leader who is on verge of transforming that country and the people freely elected the leader and look around for positives do not be swayed by this platform mostly negative on Africa ,to shame your self,you sank very low and we know the colour of this platform and why its that negative,sad you decide to join and side with Madonna of all people,just because you are brqainwashed to like her colour,noble her ideas but she must tell the truth,where are the schools,set up a web site ,show the world like Oprah did,blocks aint schools.

      TinavoMagaisa - 2013-04-11 16:56

      @merickm Africa is "poor' because it accepts forced handouts instead of being allowed to grow on its own terms. And Madonna, america is struggling, closing school and more people going to soup houses, am sure she can use her money there. But they may refuse it if she bring terms and conditions like she is doing in Malawi. Way to go Banda. You should respect the country you are going into, simple as that

      sterling.ferguson.397 - 2013-04-13 22:13

      It shouldn't be shame on Africa it should be shame on many African leaders that don't care about the people they are supposed to b serving.

  • Hamilton Miji - 2013-04-11 12:44

    African Leaders never learn, when comes to stealing money and making their relatives rich don't matter out of who's expense, they behave like a hungry Lion when they see a prey. Madonna did what she had to do to protect her money by firing the president sister and the president should not get involved into her sister's mess, now the public knows that the sisters have the same point of view when comes to stealing other people's money.

      sterling.ferguson.397 - 2013-04-13 21:53

      African leaders don't take some of the money they will take it all. Madonna had the president of the sister fired for mismanagement of the money and now she a demon. Speaking of Oprah, she has gone on record as saying that the extra cost of opening the school in SA was enormous. She also said that she wouldn't open a school if she had to do it over again. When she had one of the employees discharged, she was sued in the USA and paid out of court to this person. Madonna is being sued by the president sister because she was fired by her and the legal fees will be enormous. This country like SA give an employer the power to hire, but the employer can't fire an employee. What a stupid law and the government are wondering why the country is so poor.

  • Appolinaire Manirambona - 2013-04-13 20:34

    i am not surprised...leaders consider an xtra cash as they forget about their nations's needs.

  • sterling.ferguson.397 - 2013-04-13 22:23

    @Magaisa, what the Americans are throwing away in the garbage the people in Malawi would love to have. There isn't no masses of people living in Africa style poverty like in Malawi. In America one is poor when they don't have two flat screens TV.

      TinavoMagaisa - 2013-04-15 13:40

      Which America are you talking about?

      TinavoMagaisa - 2013-04-15 13:52

      http://money.cnn.com/2004/12/22/news/economy/poverty_overview/index.htm and http://money.cnn.com/2004/12/16/news/economy/poverty_corporate/index.htm

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