Malawi government should stop the rhetoric and encourage Madonna to continue her fantastic work in the country

Madonna - A true HumanitarianIt is an undeniable fact the singer Madonna has done a remarkable job in Malawi, and should be applauded for that. For a government to issue an official statement that indirectly insults her and the wonderful humanitarian work she has done in Africa, is completely appalling. Whether Madonna made statements that may not be close to the reality on the ground or not, the response from the President of Malawi and her government is somewhat preposterous.

The government should have approached Madonna privately and get a response, rather than making public statements to humiliate her. This move by the government in Malawi has the potential to discourage other high profile celebrities from engaging in any humanitarian work in Africa. The president of Malawi, Joyce Banda, may want to extend a hand to the singer and attempt to resolve this issue and apologize for the manner in which she handled the matter.

The government of Malawi has accused Madonna of exaggerating her contributions to the African country and at the same time saying she demanded special treatment while on tour in the country just last week.

Something Madonna profusely denies. It is reported that the singer and her entourage were denied VIP treatment upon leaving the country and were asked to line up with ordinary passengers to go through airport security. But the fact is,  high profile celebrities have been accustomed to such VIP treatments as they are mobbed by sometimes crazy fans subjecting them to a serious security risk. And for the government in Malawi not to recognize this is simply astonishing.

President Joyce Banda’s office issued a statement accusing Madonna of trying to use her fame and money to press Malawi into providing her VIP treatment. The statement reads:  “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 statement went on to say that the singer’s intentions behind the  humanitarian work she is doing in Malawi was for the country to be  forever chained to the obligation of gratitude.

Banda was reportedly angered by the singer’s claims that she has built 10 schools in Malawi.  “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.”

But, Madonna has responded saying she was saddened that the president “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 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.”

According to  Madonna’s spokesman, the attacks were influenced by the fact that the President’s sister had been replaced as the head of Madonna’s charity in Malawi.

If this is the case, then such vindictive actions by the government could only prove to be counter-productive in a country that still needs all the help it could get from donors and those in a position to offer direct assistance  like Madonna.

© 2013, Ahmed M Kamara. All rights reserved. – The views expressed here are purely those of the author and not necessarily those of the publishers. – Newstime Africa content cannot be reproduced in any form – electronic or print – without prior consent of the Publishers. Copyright infringement will be pursued and perpetrators prosecuted.

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