Madonna's Malawi Trip Angers Country's Officials
Madonna's visit to Malawi earlier in the month has since seen her blasted by Malawian officials who are accusing her of making VIP demands and failing to come through with plans to build a lavish school for the country.
When Madonna was making her way through the airport with her entourage – which included her four children, Lourdes, Rocco, David and Mercy – an unnamed aviation official told E! News that she was asked to go through "the ordinary passenger terminal on their way to the jet." Madonna allegedly did not take kindly to not getting her due star treatment.
"Granted, Madonna is a famed international musician," Malawi President Joyce Banda's office said in a statement. "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.
"Kindness, as far as its ordinary meaning is concerned, is free and anonymous," the statement continued. "If it can't be free and silent, it is not kindness; it is something else. Blackmail is the closest it becomes."
Madonna was quick to refute President Banda's words against her, issuing a lengthy statement of her own that spoke of her joy in visiting Malawi, listed her good works for the country, and promised to continue her charitable work in the region despite Banda's attack on her character.
"I was very happy to visit with the children of Malawi earlier this month and to see with my own eyes the ten new primary schools in Kasungu province that Raising Malawi and buildOn completed this past year," she said in the statement. "These schools are now educating more than 4,800 children with girls attending in equal numbers. […]I will continue to follow through on my commitment to help educate the children of Malawi."
"I'm saddened that Malawi's President Joyce Band Malawian has chosen to release lies about what we've accomplished, my intentions, how I personally conducted myself while visiting Malawi and other untruths," she added. "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."
Malawian government officials also accuse the 54-year-old pop icon of having reneged on the promise of building a multimillion dollar academy for girls. Instead, they say she opted to build "classrooms at existing schools." In reply to the accusations, Raising Malawi, Madonna's charity, took to her defense, claiming that she donated $400,000 to build 10 school blocks, which enabled the schooling of over 4,000 children.