General Elly Tumwine was a Ugandan Military General, Politician, Musician who has served in various positions both in military and government.
He was a four star General one of the few full Generals in Ugandan Military and has always been in the high command of Uganda People’s Defense Forces since the Bush war that started in 1984.
He died on August 25, 2022 at the age of 68 in Aga Khan Hospital, Nairobi Kenya.
Early Life and Education of General Elly Tumwine.
He was born on 12 April 1954 in Burunga, Mbarara district in colonial Uganda present day Kazo District in Western Uganda.
He attended Burunga Primary School for his Primary education in Kazo District. While at Burunga Primary School 1n 1967, he met Yoweri Kaguta Museveni who was his teacher. Museveni had finished A- level and hadn’t joined University then.
He later joined Mbarara High School in Mbarara for his O – Level before joining St Henry’s College Kitovu in Masaka for his A -Level.
He graduated in 1977 from Makerere University with Bachelor of Art in Fine with Diploma in Education specializing in Painting.
He was a family man with a wife and children. His children are Cynthia and Eriya Tumwine Junior.
Career Biography of General Elly Tumwine
Military & Government Career
After graduating, Elly Tumwine started teaching but his teaching was cut shot as he joined the campaign to remove President Iddi Amin from power.
In 1978, together with 9000 other joined Front for National Salvation (FRONASA) in 1979 an army that collaborated with Tanzanian government to oust Dictator Idi Amin Dada who was the president of Uganda 1971-1979.
Following the collapse of Amin’s government and anarchy that happened between 1979-1980 elections, Tumwine followed the then rebel Leader Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to the bush to start a Guerrilla war that was meant to oust Dr. Apollo Milton Obote.
He is credited with firing the first shot in the bush which was allegedly done out of panic at Kabamba Barracks starting a war that lasted 5 years (1981-1986).
In 1984, Tumwine was appointed the commander of the NRA rebel army a position he held up to 1987 when he was replaced by General Salim Saleh.
It was in the bush war that he lost sight of his one eye during gunfire with government forces.
Following bush war struggle and subsequent capture of power in 1986, Tumwine served on various positions and was promoted various times to become one of the most decorated military generals in Uganda.
He continued serving as the commander army in the government that was formed until 1987.
He served as the Minister of State for Defense in 1989.
Served as the Director General of the External Security Organization (ESO) from 1994-1996.
He served as a Presidential adviser from 1996 -1998.
He was a commissioner of High Command Appeals Committee from 1986 -1999
He was promoted to the rank of General in the UPDF and named the chair of UPDF General Court Marshal in 2005.
Tumwine had also continuously represented UPDF in Uganda Parliament from 1986 till 2021.
He replaced Lt General Henry Tumukunde in 2018 as the Minister for Security a position he served in until he was replaced by Maj General Jim Muhwezi in June 2021.
He was retired from the army together with 34 other generals on May 16 2022 having served in military for 43 years.
At the time of his death, he was serving as the Presidential adviser on Security Matters.
Music and Arts Career.
General Tumwine has been a renowned musician especially in his home region Western Uganda. With various songs in Runyankore and Kiswahili, the general has been remarkable with his good vocals which did not fade even when he grew old.
His song Nkareeba Ainunu is his most popular song praising the beauty, heritage of Ankole. He has various other songs that he did not produce officially but was always seen singing them on camera and was also popular with concluding his media remarks with a song summarizing his remarks.
He was an artist by profession and while in Army, he designed the flag, emblem and camouflage uniform of the rebel 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.
General Elly Tumwine appeared on Television defending Police’s brutality shooting and killing protesters during Kampala 2020 riots that followed Presidential Candidate Robert Kyagulanyi arrest in Luuka district, Eastern Uganda.
Wealth and Net Worth of Tumwine.
Just like many other Ugandans serving in government, their net worth is had to estimate since most of them do not show their wealth.
Elly Tumwine has been a wealth man owning several herds of cattle, expensive cars and various houses in Kampala and his home place Kazo.
Sickness and Real Cause of Death.
Elly Tumwine appeared on Television Looking weak, pale and aged in 2020 leading to speculations that he was poisoned. Although that was never the case, his health kept on deteriorating from that day on.
He was hospitalized on several occasions in hospitals in Uganda outside Uganda although a few of these hospital visits were made known to media.
In July, while attending a wedding, General Elly Tumwine collapsed and was rushed to Nakasero Hospital sparking rumors a week later that he had passed on.
He was then airlifted at the beginning of August to Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi Kenya for better medication where he was placed in the intensive care unit.
He was suffering from Lung Cancer a disease that has been eating him up for years until when he couldn’t fight it any more.
On August 25th 2022 at 5:46am EAT, a bush war hero, former minister, a musician and an artist, a professional teacher, whose 68 year long life had a touched many, a mentor to thousands of people, a father and husband, General Elly Tumwine breathed his last.
He was pronounced dead immediately by his family. Various other people in government and opposition including President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, Speaker of Parliament Hon. Annet Anita Among, President of National Unity Platform Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu and many others eulogized him and his patriotic works.