5.15.2009

Girls dad wants to take a DNA test

A man who claims to be the father of the Malawian girl Madonna wants to adopt says he is willing to take a DNA test to prove paternity.

James Kambewa is fighting against Madonna's attempt to adopt 3-year-old Mercy Chifundo James. But he is in dispute with the girl's uncle and grandmother who said in an interview Wednesday that they did not believe Kambewa was the father. They have accepted the adoption.

In a separate interview Wednesday, Kambewa said he was ready to take a DNA test. But Peter Baneti, the uncle, said the family is not interested.

"For DNA to take place they need samples from him and Mercy," Baneti said. "We won't allow him anywhere near her. He should forget it."

One of Madonna's lawyers, Modechai Msisha, said Kambewa's claims would have no bearing on a ruling expected any day in Madonna's appeal of a lower court's rejection of the adoption. The lower court said Madonna failed to meet residency requirements.

Kambewa said: "Even if the Supreme Court rules that Madonna takes my daughter I won't give up my fight to claim my rights to my daughter." He said he had sought help from human rights organizations.

Kambewa acknowledged he had never seen the girl. According to court documents, she was placed in the orphanage when her 14-year-old mother died a few weeks after giving birth.

"I thought she had died with my girlfriend, Mwandida. That's what I heard."

Kambewa, 24, met Mwandida Maunde in 2005 when they were secondary school students. When Mwandida became pregnant, Kambewa denied responsibility, dropped out of school and disappeared.

"I was young then," he said. "I knew they would make me marry her .... I didn't have the means to raise a family. I am old enough now."

Kambewa ekes out a living, mostly as a guard.

Madonna found the girl in 2006 at Kondanani Children's Village, an orphanage in Bvumbwe just south of Blantyre. It was the same year she adopted David, whom she found at another orphanage in central Malawi.

Madonna has founded a charity, Raising Malawi, that helps feed, educate and provide medical care for some of Malawi's more than 1 million orphans, half of whom have lost parents to AIDS.--


Thanks!
Jeannie

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