Gen Elly Tumwine, the former Security Minister, has died. At the time of his death, he was 68 years old. His death was announced by the president of Uganda and his comrade Yoweri Museveni.
The NRA bush war hero died at Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, where he had been airlifted two weeks before due to a strange illness.
Despite several sources declaring the General dead earlier this month, the UPDF later refuted such reports and clarified that the Gen was still alive, albeit ill, until today, when he was pronounced dead.
While handing over power to his successor, Maj Gen Jim Muhwezi, last year, Gen Tumwine stated that he would advise President Museveni to plan for a smooth transition of power in order to ensure the country’s long-term stability.
The controversial general also came under fire for publicly arguing that security forces were justified in killing civilians during the November 2020 riots sparked by the arrest of then-presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine in Luuka District, which resulted in the deaths of more than 50 Ugandans.
In 2020, a group of legislators attempted to censure him on the grounds that he had obstructed Parliament’s work while the Committee on Human Rights was investigating illegal detention centers or safe houses in the country, where many Ugandans were allegedly tortured.
This followed the commissioning of the committee by the then-Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, to investigate allegations of torture by the Internal Security Organisation (ISO), which was running safe houses to torture people in Kalangala District and Kyengera in Wakiso District.
General Tumwine later admitted to the Committee that the government ran safe houses for intelligence purposes but did not torture civilians.
Gen Elly Tumwine Biography
Tumwine was born in Burunga, Mbarara District, on April 12, 1954. He attended Burunga Primary School, Mbarara High School, and St. Henry’s College Kitovu before enrolling at Makerere University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art degree in 1977.
He then completed the Cadet Officers Course at the Tanzania Military Academy in Monduli. In addition, he completed the Senior Command Course at the Uganda Senior Command and Staff College in Kimaka, Jinja. Tumwine also had additional military qualifications from the Soviet Union’s Vystry military academy.
Gen Tumwine, a fine artist by trade, joined the military struggle in 1978 as a member of the Front for National Salvation (Fronasa), the precursor to the NRA.
Tumwine joined forces with Mr Museveni, who had lost the presidential elections, and went on to gain post-victory fame for firing the first bullet that ignited the five-year National Resistance Army (NRA) guerrilla war.
Gen. Elly Tumwine was one of 42 people armed with 27 guns who attacked Kabamba barracks, launching the NRA’s protracted war that would usher in the current government five years later in 1986.
Tumwine left his teaching career in 1978 to join Museveni’s FRONASA forces.
Tumwine accompanied then-rebel leader Yoweri Museveni to the bush in 1981 to form the National Resistance Army (NRA) after disputing the outcome of the 1980 elections.
From 1996 to 2021, Gen Tumwine was also the longest-serving army representative in Parliament. He held several positions in the NRM government, the most recent being Security Minister from 2018 to 2021. At the time of his death, he was a senior presidential adviser.