April 11, 2013 10:04

President of Malawi accuses Madonna of 'blackmail' and bullying'

The singer was in the African country last week visiting her philanthropic projects there

President of Malawi accuses Madonna of 'blackmail' and bullying'

Photo: Press

The president of Malawi has accused Madonna of "blackmail" and "bullying" after her recent trip there.

The singer visited the impoverished African country last week to review the progress of her plan to build 10 community schools, and asked for an audience with the president in a handwritten note, The Telegraph reports.

However, President Joyce Banda responded in a statement which read that the singer wanted the Malawian government to "roll out a red carpet and blast the 21-gun salute in her honour", adding that it was "strange and depressing" that she appeared to want thanks for the fact that she adopted of two Malawian children – David and Mercy. "Kindness, as far as its ordinary meaning is concerned, is free and anonymous," the statement read. "If it can't be free and silent, it is something else. Blackmail is the closest it becomes."

Malawi's State House rejected claims that the president had refused to see Madonna because she sacked her sister, Anjimile Mtila-Oponyo, as head of her charity in the country. "For her to accuse Mrs Oponyo for indiscretions that have clearly arisen from her personal frustrations that her ego has not been massaged by the state is uncouth, and speaks volumes of a musician who desperately thinks she must generate recognition by bullying state officials instead of playing decent music on the stage," the State House statement read.

Trevor Neilson, Madonna’s 'philanthropic adviser' and spokesman, said: "Madonna is the largest individual philanthropist in Malawi and we are a bit surprised that the president is using her office to pursue her sister’s financial interests," he said. "That said, we will continue to fund programmes that support children in Malawi, a country where millions of children suffer every day."

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