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Malawi Government Criticizes Madonna in Harsh Attack

  • VOA News

U.S. performer Madonna tours Mphandura orpahange with her two adopted children David Banda, second from left, and Mercy James, third from left, near Lilongwe, Malawi, April 5, 2013.

U.S. performer Madonna tours Mphandura orpahange with her two adopted children David Banda, second from left, and Mercy James, third from left, near Lilongwe, Malawi, April 5, 2013.

Malawi's government has accused pop star Madonna of exaggerating her philanthropic work in the country and demanding special treatment during a visit last week.

A statement from the president's office Thursday says Madonna wants Malawi to be "forever chained to the obligation of gratitude" for having adopted two Malawian children.

Pop star Madonna holds her adopted child, Mercy, undated publicity photo, Malawi, released April 13, 2009.

Pop star Madonna holds her adopted child, Mercy, undated publicity photo, Malawi, released April 13, 2009.

It goes on to question the extent of her charity's work, saying the pop singer "needs to learn the decency of telling the truth." The statement says she has only contributed to the construction of classrooms and has not built any schools as claimed.

Madonna said she is saddened that Malawi President Joyce Banda "has chosen to release lies" about her charity's accomplishments, her intentions and how she conducted herself during her time in the country.

A statement on her Raising Malawi website says Madonna originally planned on building a girls academy but realized that a more sustainable goal would be to build smaller schools in villages across the country.

Madonna said the disagreement stems from her dismissal of President Banda's sister, Anjimile Oponyo, who served as head of the charity. Oponyo was fired following allegations that she mismanaged $3.8 million in charity funds.

Oponyo is suing the charity for wrongful termination.

Media reports say Madonna and four children were denied VIP access and forced to line up for a security check with ordinary passengers while leaving the country last week.

Madonna said she did not ask or demand special treatment at the airport.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.
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