March 1, 2024

Roads close again for Gen Tumwine

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What you need to know:

  • In the days since his passing was announced, social media has become the morbid norm, been awash with a mixture of heartfelt tributes from those he loved and loved him, and critical comments, some so vile as to be printable, from those who did not.

The first time roads in Kololo were closed for Elly Tumwine, it was 1986. He was commander of the National Resistance Army (NRA), which had just taken power after a five-year guerrilla war. Half of Windsor Crescent, a narrow street abutting the Uganda Golf Course, was closed to all traffic except that to the soldier’s house, and the few neighbours.

Such closures were not uncommon in those days. Armed crime remained rampant and the victorious rebel army had mop-up operations to conduct as it secured its grip over the country. The city would become more peaceful and Gen Tumwine’s role would change, from army commander to Junior Defence minister, then to head of the external intelligence agency but for 10 years the road remained closed, until just as suddenly, the armed soldiers at both ends disappeared sometime in 1996.

Yesterday, the roads in Kololo were closed again for Gen Tumwine. This time he lay in a casket draped in the national flag at the Independence Grounds. The great and the good, led by President Museveni and the army top brass turned out to pay their respects to the four-star general who died of complications arising out of lung cancer on the morning of August 25 at the Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi. He was 68



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