- Title: MALAWI: Too soon to tell if Madonna can adopt David Banda, agency says
- Date: 27th September 2007
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (English) MAXWELL MATEWERE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF EYE OF THE CHILD, A CHILD ADVOCACY GROUP, SAYING: "We are not sure whether that would be the approach or whether that was the intention of the court. That when the guardian ad litem went to assessment then immediately he must release a report that there are some green lights leading to a situation where Madonna can be given the final order to adopt the child. What we think could happen is that the guardian ad litem who is the Ministry of Women and Child Development, and in this case being represented by Mr. Chisale, would present the report to the court so that the court could use that report to determine whether Madonna could be finally granted the (order)."
- Embargoed: 12th October 2007 12:48
- Location: Malawi
- Country: Malawi
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment
- Reuters ID: LVA58IO692BHCN480J1R9VM2UYDJ
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: It's too early to tell if a Malawi court will grant pop singer Madonna legal custody of the African child she is trying to adopt, a spokesman for a Malawi child advocacy group says.
Sources close to the court reviewing Madonna's adoption case said on Sunday (September 23), that it was too early to speculate whether Madonna would be successful in adopting Malawian orphan David Banda.
The statement was made to dampen media reports which indicated that Madonna had been given the go-ahead for the adoption after a Malawian government official from the Ministry of Women and Child Welfare visited her home in London.
According to Maxwell Matewere, Executive Director for the leading Malawi child advocacy group The Eye of the Child, and friend of the court in the case involving Madonna's adoption proceedings, the order to allow Madonna to adopt David Banda could only come from the court after a recommendation from the assessment made by the Ministry.
"What we think could happen is that the guardian ad litem who is the Ministry of Women and Child Development, and in this case being represented by Mr. Chisale, would present the report to the court so that the court could use that report to determine whether Madonna could be granted the final order," said Matewere.
Matewere explained the assessment of the child's welfare in Madonna's home would be a long procedure carried out over a period of 18 months which included several visits to the home.
However, he also stressed the final decision could only be given by the courts and the Ministry of Women and Child Welfare could not dictate or work independently from the court.
Meanwhile, there are reports that Madonna is planning to adopt another Malawian orphan, a 13-month-old baby named Mercy whose mother died five days after giving birth.
Journalist Nelson Nyirenda said it may be too soon to adopt another child given the controversy which still surrounds David Banda's adoption.
"This is not the right way of doing it. Because we know that Madonna of course she is trying to help us to adopt another child. To help that child. But then there are all these wrangles about David Banda and these things haven't died down yet," said Nyirenda.
Madonna's adoption hopes have been surrounded by controversy from the beginning. Quite apart from the legal and ethical considerations, on her second trip to Malawi on April 17th, 2007, while visiting the orphanage where David Banda once lived, schoolchildren pelted reporters' cars with stones to keep them away from the singer.
The material girl eventually calmed the fracas at the Home of Hope orphanage by inviting journalists inside, where she posed for photographers clutching one-year-old David Banda.
Witnesses said they saw David's biological father Yohane Banda, who has complained he struggles to get information about his son, and David together while Madonna chatted separately to children at the orphanage where the boy was placed after his mother died.
Madonna is paying for a new clinic to be built in the Malawian village of Gumulira and is supporting efforts by aid groups to help improve food security and education there.
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