Madonna has become embroiled in a war of words with the President of Malawi after she sent her a tatty, misspelled letter.
President Joyce Banda has accused the superstar of going back on her promises and ‘insulting the people’ after receiving the letter, which kindly praised the leader but was riddled with mistakes.
The 54-year-old pop star asked to meet Banda – who was elected to office in April 2012 – during her visit, but was met with hostility and accusations.
In the note, which was scrawled on monogrammed paper, Madonna congratulated her on her new position and requested an audience.
But the Borderline star managed to make a number of errors, including misspelling ‘responsability’ for ‘responsibility’.
Madonna, who has spent the week in the country to visit the schools she’s funded through charity Raising Malawi, wrote in the rambling letter:
‘I have always admired your strength and courage and have very good memories of when we met and spoke and we interviewed you for documentary as you know I am in Malawi for the week.’ (sic)
Meaningful: The popstar visited the Mphandula orpahange near Lilongwe where she adopted her son David
‘If you have any time in your busy schedule to meet that would be great if not you know I am here to be of service and continue to do what I can to support the children of Malawi!’ she continued.
But instead of taking her up on her offer, President Banda has slammed the star for not living up to her word.
She has accused the pop-singer and her charity Raising Malawi of ‘insulting the people’ by building 10 schools without getting government consent.
But Madonna hit back in a video for The Telegraph, saying: ‘I want to say that my reasons for being here have never changed. I’m here because I care deeply about the children of Malawi. That is my main priority.’
The Material Girl landed in the African country earlier this week to visit not just the orphanage where she adopted her two children Mercy and David, but also to see the ten school blocks she has funded around the country, beginning with Nkoko Primary School in the tobacco-growing district of Kasungu.
Around 4,000 school children were said to have been learning under trees, before the pop star injected cash to help build new classrooms.
But Joyce Banda said these buildings were constructed without asking officials: ‘She came unannounced to villages and made poor people dance for her.’
‘No one should come here and say ‘I’m building a classroom’ without needs assessment. In some cases she just renovated an existing block. It is an insult to the people.’
Medical support: Madonna met the patients at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital
The President’s words may also be a reaction to Madonna’s lack of communication with her office upon her family’s arrival in the country.
Presidential press secretary Steve Nhlane to the Daily Telegraph, confirmed the lack of contact, but said, ‘her excellency would be willing to meet with her [Madonna] if she puts in a request.’
Malawi’s education minister backed up the President’s comments, telling the BBC that the popstar is merely building classrooms not entire schools in the southern African country.
Eunice Kazembe said:’She has built classrooms at existing schools… really it’s a difference in terminology.’
‘She promised an academy and we agreed on standards but she just changed her mind on the project without consulting us.’
Two years ago Madonna closed down the Malawian office of her charity Raising Malawi, and called off the construction of the planned 400-student academy after allegations of financial mismanagement arose.
Trevor Neilson, president of the Global Philanthropy Group that is managing Madonna’s projects in the African country, said that the singer – who fired every staff member at her charity as a result of bad management – had already spent $400,000 on the 10 school blocks, and reiterated her commitment to the African nation : ‘Madonna loves Malawi, she is happy to be here, she is committed to end poverty here.’
As well as Mercy and David, Madonna’s biological children, though by different fathers, also joined their mother and Malawian siblings on the charitable visit.
Lourdes Leon and Rocco Richie followed their mother to all the hospitals and children centres, enjoying the company of the Malawian people they met along the way.