July 24, 2024

PROFILE: Who is Gen. Elly Tumwine?

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Tumwine was born on 12 April 1954, in Burunga, Mbarara District. He attended Burunga Primary School, Mbarara High School and St. Henry’s College Kitovu, before joining Makerere University, where in 1977, he graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art together with the Diploma in Education; abbreviated: BA (FA)/Dip. Ed. He specialized in the history of art painting.

He subsequently graduated from the Cadet Officers Course at the Tanzania Military Academy at Monduli. He also attended the Senior Command Course at the Uganda Senior Command and Staff College at Kimaka, in Jinja, Uganda, being a member of the pioneer class that graduated in 2005. Tumwine also holds further military qualifications from the military academy in Vystry, in the Soviet Union.

In 1978, he interrupted his teaching career to join the FRONASA forces led by Yoweri Museveni to fight the Idi Amin regime.

In 1981, when Museveni went to the bush to form the National Resistance Army (NRA), Elly Tumwine went with him. He is reported to have fired the first shot in the National Resistance Army War, which propelled the National Resistance Army and National Resistance Movement into power in Uganda in 1986.

During the fighting between the NRA and the UNLA, Tumwine sustained facial injuries that led to loss of sight in one eye.

In 1984, Tumwine was named Commander of the Army, a post he held until 1987, when he was succeeded by General Salim Saleh. Over the years, he served in various positions, including:

Minister of State for Defense in 1989.
Director General of the External Security Organization (ESO) from 1994 until 1996.
Presidential Adviser from 1996 until 1998
Chairman of the High Command Appeals Committee from 1986 until 1999.

He continuously represented the UPDF in the Ugandan Parliament since 1986 until last year when he was dropped.

In September 2005, he was promoted to the rank of general in the UPDF and named to chair the UPDF General Court Marshal.

Immediately after graduating from Makerere University in 1977, Elly Tumwine embarked on a teaching career in various schools in Uganda, teaching fine art. After the National Resistance Movement victory in 1986, he resumed his art.

While serving as the commander of the NRA, he designed the flag, the emblem and the green and camouflage uniforms of the army. He was appointed the chairman of the board of trustees of the National Cultural Centre.

In 1992, he launched his company, The Creations Limited, to promote the arts and crafts industry, encouraging artistic values and creativity.

He also served as security minister between 2019 to 2021.

Tumwine died from Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, where he was airlifted recently as he battled cancer -related complications.

However, details are still scanty about the matter.

Tumwine is one of the 42 people armed with 27 guns who attacked Kabamba barracks to launch the NRA protracted war that five years later in 1986 would usher the current government to power.

Having left his teaching career in 1978, Tumwine joined the FRONASA forces led by Museveni.


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