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Gen Tumwine succumbs to lung cancer

Former Security Minister General Elly Tumwine has passed on this morning at Aga khan Hospital in Nairobi.

Yoweri K. Museveni, the president of the Republic of Uganda/CIC of the UPDF revealed that his bush war comrade Gen Elly Tumwine succumbed to lung cancer this morning at 5:46 am in Nairobi.

“With deep sorrow, I announce the death of General Elly Tumwiine which occurred at 5:46am this morning in Nairobi, from lung cancer. Condolences to his family, to the NRA-UPDF- NRM fraternity and to all Ugandans,” said president Museveni in his condolence message.

Born on 12th April 1954, in Burunga, in the then Mbarara District, present day Kazo district, Tumwine is one of the first 27 Museveni kadogos that started the five year bush war in Luwero that brought the National Resistance Army and National Resistance Movement into power in Uganda in 1986.

Gen Tumwine shakes hands with President Museveni (File Photo)

In 1978, he interrupted his teaching career to join the FRONASA forces with 9000 others led by president Museveni, Gen Tumwine went to Monduli Military School in Tanzania 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 NRA War on the 6th February, 1981, at Kabamba Army Barracks.

In a statement released this morning, president Museveni says that he taught Gen Tumwine at Burunga Primary School in 1967 while he was a student teacher before joining University later that year.

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.

He is a retired Ugandan military officer, professional artist, and educator.

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

Gen. Tumwine has been part of the leadership of the NRA- UPDF as well as serving the government in various capacities until he retired from active military service in July 2022. 

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

* Minister of State for Defence 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 was also continuously represented the UPDF in the Ugandan Parliament since 1986.

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

President Museveni described the late as a dedicated and hard-working cadre.

It is said that the tough speaking General has been battling with sickness for some time and has been in and out of hospitals until today, when he breathed his last at the Nairobi-based Aga Khan Hospital.

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