Honourable Folks, I’m afraid the statement from State House on pop diva Madonna published by the dailies on Thursday lacks substance and only serves to make the government look and sound petty.
Nowhere has Madonna been quoted as claiming that she deserves special VVIP treatment here because she adopted two Malawian children. That simply isn’t true and State House has no business trying to capitalise on the controversy the adoptions caused in Malawi and worldwide to justify its actions.
Whatever anyone feels about the adoptions, the fact remains that Madonna legally adopted the Malawian children and they are her children. Thank God, she’s given David and Mercy a VVIP life, motherly care and love. In Malawi, they were sickly and they called orphanages home.
It is also good that she makes time to take her children to their original homeland, Malawi. That way, I believe, David and his sister, Mercy, will grow up with less mind-boggling questions about who they are, where they came from and how they ended up with Madonna in the US or wherever she chooses to be.
In typical Malawian tradition, if Madonna was nothing else, it would still be appropriate to accord her the respect that every mother deserves. The President as a champion of women’s and children’s rights, should not be the first one to tell us to regard amake (the mother of) David and Mercy as a “nobody”.
But Madonna is a lot more than that. She earned her VVIP status by her achievements in her field of endeavour—music—and her enormous wealth. People of her status normally get “red-carpet treatment” wherever they go.
Not that our government can’t choose to deny her such status, but should that be the case, there must be better reasons for it, not simply because she doesn’t see eye-to-eye with one of her former employees who happens to be the President’s relation.
We belong to the global village which expects of us to be accountable for our actions, especially if they affect other important members of the same global village.
But that again is beside the point. On Wednesday evening, there was a news item on MBC TV in which some lady associated with some NGO umbrella organisation who had an audience with the President earlier, castigated Madonna, accusing her of treating Malawi as her playing field and lying about constructing 10 schools.
Then came the crunch that sent me rolling in stitches: this lady said in Malawi a school must have eight classroom blocks and toilets. Now where I come from there is a school called Kaphiri, built with donor money. It has two classroom blocks, a shed where children are fed porridge and a headteacher’s house, period.
This school has been like this for more than eight years now. It is at this school that the presidential helicopter once landed when the late Bingu wa Mutharika came to campaign in Mulanje West in the run-up to the 2009 elections. How come that it’s called a school if the definition of a school in Malawi is eight classroom blocks and toilets?
This is not to say Madonna is right to make claims that she has constructed 10 schools when all there is are just a few classroom blocks here and there. All I’m saying is that, her visit would have been an opportunity to discuss this issue with her that in Malawi a school must have at least eight classroom blocks and toilets (never mind that this is not always the case).
As it is, the JB administration appears hell-bent to give Madonna a reason for not ever coming to Malawi again. Why? The only plausible issue still remains the rift between Madonna and the President’s relation. Must we all hate her for that?
Only that should Madonna decide not to come again, the losers would not be the President and her family. Rather, it will be the girl-child and the boy-child who need a school their own government is failing to provide them. Madonna was only helping us build decent shelters where our children could learn comfortably, come rain or sunshine.
There is no reason for us to return that favour with insults. Come to think of it. The late Bingu wa Mutharika the other day said he had no time to meet a “junior” officer from IMF. Now JB says she has no time to accord Madonna a VVIP status. The more things change the more they remain the same.