'Malawi owes madonna'

Pop superstar Madonna's adoption of Malawian baby David Banda should not be blocked by the country's officials because the nation "owes her so much" for her charity work, says the nation's information minister.

The Vogue hitmaker and her director husband Guy Ritchie brought two-year-old Banda back to Britain from Malawi in 2006, amid claims that the couple had side-stepped the official adoption process.

The adoption could be officially granted by a Malawian court in April next year, but Information Minister Patricia Kaliati claims it would be "wrong" if the Ritchies were forced to return the child to his native country.

She says: "This country owes her so much. Very few famous people would take their time off to rally other celebrities to raise money for a poor country like Malawi, which very few people know about.

"It will be wrong for Malawi to even dare deny this wonderful woman all the rights to be a parent of David and many more Malawian children."

Madonna co-hosted a charity party for her "Raising Malawi" orphan care initiative and the UN Children's Fund in New York last week, raising about R29million for the poor. - Wenn