By RAPHAEL TENTHANI
Malawi’s government issued an angry attack on the pop diva Madonna on Wednesday, alleging that she expected to be granted VIP treatment during her controversial tour to this southern African country last week.
A strongly worded statement issued by the president’s office accused Madonna of using her fame and money to press Malawi to give her VIP treatment.
Madonna, who has had VIP treatment during her previous visits–including when she jetted into the country on April 1–was apparently surprised when she and her travelling party had to line up with ordinary passengers and be frisked by airport security.
President Joyce Banda was reportedly angered by Madonna’s claims that she has built 10 schools in Malawi.
The Wednesday statement also questioned Madonna’s true intentions in her humanitarian efforts in Malawi, alleging that the singer “wants Malawi to be forever chained to the obligation of gratitude.”
The statement said Malawi has played host to other international stars like Chuck Norris, Bono, David James, Rio Ferdinand and Gary Neville “who have never demanded state attention or decorum despite their equally dazzling stature.”
It also dismissed Madonna’s claims that Banda is mad because her younger sister, Anjimile Mtila-Oponyo was fired as the CEO for Madonna’s charity, Raising Malawi.
Trevor Neilson, whose Global Philanthropy Group is managing Madonna’s projects in Malawi, defended the pop star against what he called “the long, strange attack” by the country’s government.
Neilson also suggested that the “attacks are influenced by the fact that the president’s sister was removed as the head of Madonna’s organization in Malawi.”
This has been Madonna’s most controversial tour to Malawi since she first visited the southern African country in 2006. Despite the furor, Madonna seemed unfazed.