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Madonna criticises Malawi president amid vote chaos

Pop diva Madonna has weighed in on Malawi's chaotic election, criticising embattled President Joyce Banda, who has tried to nullify the vote amid allegations of irregularities.

The superstar, who adopted two children from the southern African nation, has been involved in a long-running spat with Malawi's government over her charity work in the country.

In a statement posted on the website of her charity Raising Malawi, Madonna accused the government of corruption and of failing its people.

'I am so sad to see that because of the actions of their president Malawians will continue to suffer,' the American singer said.

'In my philanthropic work I have seen the depths of corruption in Malawi's government. I can only hope that change will come, Malawians deserve so much better.'

The remarks come after Banda attempted to declare the presidential election 'null and void', prompting fierce legal wrangling over her right to do so.

Madonna's charity says it has poured millions of dollars into the support of children, including orphans in Malawi, which is ranked by the UN Human Development Index as one of the world's 20 least developed countries.

But after a visit to the country last year Banda's government accused the 55-year-old of inflating the value of that help, demanding VIP treatment, being 'uncouth' and bullying state officials.

In a long statement it said that if Madonna had her way 'the Malawi government and its leadership should have rolled out a red carpet and blast the 21-gun salute in her honour.' When leaving the country, Madonna was for the first time denied use of the VIP section at the airport in Lilongwe.

A government spokesman claimed the singer 'wants Malawi to be forever chained to the obligation of gratitude' for having adopted two Malawian children. But Madonna denied 'these ridiculous allegations'. 'I did not ever ask or demand special treatment at the airport or elsewhere during my visit,' she said.

During the trip she visited schools her charity has built, flanked by her four children, including David Banda and Mercy James who she adopted from the southern African nation.

'I will not be distracted or discouraged by other people's political agendas. I made a promise to the children of Malawi and I am keeping that promise' she said.

From AFP Via Yahoo! News


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