General Elly Tumwine is a Ugandan military officer, professional artist, and educator. He served as Commander of the National Resistance Army from 1984 to 1987. He is one of the highest-ranking members of the Ugandan military and is a member of the Ugandan Parliament, representing the Uganda People’s Defence Force.[
But who is Gen Elly Tumwine? In this Story, we bring you all you need to know about the motormouthed Security minister of Uganda.
Early life and education
Elly 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 specialised 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.
As a teacher, the army serviceman taught in many schools such Ntare, Ibanda Secondary, Mary Hill and Kitunga High school.
In 1978, Elly Tumwine interrupted his teaching career to join Front for National Salvation (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), he went with him. Tumwine is reported to have fired the first shot in the National Resistance Army War, which propelled the NRA that later became National Resistance Movement (NRM) into power in Uganda in 1986.
During the bush fight between NRA and Uganda National Liberation Army (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.
While serving as the Commander of the NRA, he designed the flag, emblem and the green and camouflage uniforms of the army.
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.
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. The company is a member of several Ugandan organisations, including:
- Uganda Manufacturers Association
- Uganda Small Scale Industries Association
- Uganda Leather Allied Industries Association
Over the years, he has 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.
Elly Tumwine has also continuously represented the army 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.