Madonna reported to be angry at loss of VIP status
Where are the schools, Malawi president asks
Madonna said she is "saddened" by criticism of her charity work in Malaw
The queen of pop and Southern Africa’s first woman president have become embroiled in a bitter battle of words over the former’s alleged conduct while on tour recently to Malawi to inspect her charity work there.
On Wednesday evening Joyce Banda delivered a withering assessment of Madonna’s charitable work in her country after the Material Girl was said to have exaggerated her contribution as well as demanding special treatment.
According to reports, Madonna, her entourage and four children, two of whom were adopted from Malawi, were forced to use the ordinary passenger terminal last week. They had to line up like regular people upon leaving the country and were frisked by airport security.
In the past the singer has received the VIP treatment when travelling around the country to visit a number of schools she says she has built for local orphans. But officials reportedly said when she did not get the special treatment this time, she reacted badly.
A statement issued by Ms Banda’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.
Ms Banda was also reportedly angered by Madonna’s claims she had built 10 schools.
“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,” Ms Banda was widely quoted as saying.
However, the pop star’s spokesman said he believed the outburst against the singer had more to do with Ms Banda’s sister, than any inappropriate behaviour by his employer.
“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 $3.8 million,” said Trevor Neilson, whose Global Philanthropy Group is managing Madonna’s projects in Malawi. The Malawian presidency has since denied the allegation.