Malawi has accused Madonna of not consulting over her plans to build 10 new schools in the poor southern African state and said the singer seemed more interested in promoting her global image than helping with education.
The singer, who has adopted two children from Malawi, announced in January her Raising Malawi charity was teaming up with the non-profit group buildOn to construct the schools, which would educate at least 1,000 children a year.
Malawi’s Ministry of Education spokeswoman Lindiwe Chide said the government was “fed up” with Madonna.
Chide said that when the singer last year scrapped a previously planned academy for girls in Malawi, alleging mismanagement and cost overruns, she did not inform Malawian authorities.
“Now she decides to announce that she plans to build 10 schools without getting authority from us again,” Chide said.
“We now feel like this is all about propping up her global image and not in our interest,” she added.
Madonna’s earlier plan to build a state of the art girls school for about 500 girls just outside Lilongwe failed last year, and the board of her Raising Malawi charity was fired.
Chide said: “She has no mandate to decide where she wants to build a school because she doesn’t know our needs and where we want new schools … she first needed to consult us, get permission from us before doing anything”.
US media reported at the time that $3.8 million had been spent on the school with little to show for it. This annoyed her former staff in Malawi who challenged her claims in court and demanded that she compensates them for loss of jobs.
They told a Malawi court that Madonna had actually only sent about $800,000 for the school and not $3.8 million she was claiming.
Its also emerged that Madonna reduced the total cost of the school from $15 million to a mere $6 million and still failed to build the school despite raising of dollars in the name of building the school.