Malawi has issued a scathing critique of pop diva Madonna, 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, pictured, denied the accusations.
Her spokesman 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.
But this time that was no longer the case, and that she and her travelling party had to line up with ordinary passengers and be frisked by airport security.
A strongly worded statement by the president’s office has 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.
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” and went on to describe the singer’s ‘kindness’ as a form of blackmail.
In a statement released by her spokesperson, Madonna said he was “saddened” that President Banda “has chosen to release lies about what we’ve accomplished, my intentions, how I personally conducted myself while visiting Malawi and other untruths”.
A spokesman for Madonna expressed surprise at the most recent criticism and called the claim that she 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 (£2.5m),” said Trevor Neilson, whose organisation manages Madonna’s projects in Malawi.