During the NBA All-Star Weekend, Rwandan President Paul Kagame attended the NBA Africa Summit, a private event held at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. Controversy reigned. Although Kagame has been credited with easing ethnic tension and promoting strong economic growth, he is also being accused of running his country as a dictator, denying press freedom, constraining opposition parties and guilty of human rights abuses. Neighboring country Burundi is the site of demonstrations against Rwanda accusing Kagame of helping to overthrow Burundi’s government by training and equipping rebels who have fled to Rwanda.
Raptors GM Masai Ujiri who conducted several basketball camps in Africa, including Rwanda, this summer said he worked with Kagame to promote the NBA among young people and insists, “there is no controversy”. A former Kagame Aid, David Himbara disagrees. He questions why the NBA would bring a person suspected of committing “genocide in Congo” (referring to
Rwanda’s military participation during the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo) to the All-Star event. Pierre-Clover Nkinamubanzi, President of the Rwandan Congress of Canada, expressed his disapppointment and called Kagame’s visit an “embarrassment”.
Toronto Raptors GM Masai Ujiri, along with player Bismark Biyombo, former NBA All-star Dikembe Mutombo and CNN’s Wolf Blitzer were among the attendees at the summit.
B Michelle lee Williams
President P. Kagame