Malawi: Madonna 'Demanded Special Treatment'

Malawi's government has launched a scathing attack on Madonna, accusing her of demanding special treatment and exaggerating her contributions to the country during a tour last week.

The pop star has visited the southern African nation several times since 2006 and runs several projects there after adopting two children.

But her latest trip has raised the ire of President Joyce Banda's government, which claimed she had "demanded state attention" - unlike other international figures the country has hosted, such as footballers Rio Ferdinand and Gary Neville.

"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," the president's office said.

"Such treatment, even if she deserved it, is discretionary not obligatory."

On previous trips, Madonna has received numerous privileges, but during the latest visit she was reportedly denied use of the VIP section at the airport

The government also questioned Madonna's intentions with her humanitarian efforts in Malawi, alleging that the singer "wants Malawi to be forever chained to the obligation of gratitude".

"Kindness, as far as its ordinary meaning is concerned, is free and anonymous. If it can't be free and silent, it is not kindness; it is something else. Blackmail is the closest it becomes," the statement said.

A spokesman for Madonna said claims that the singer had requested special treatment were "nonsense".

Madonna herself said she was "saddened" that President Banda had "chosen to release lies about what we've accomplished, my intentions, how I personally conducted myself while visiting Malawi and other untruths."

She said: "I have no intentions of being distracted by these ridiculous allegations.

"I came to Malawi seven years ago with honourable intentions.


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