Former Security Minister Gen Elly Tumwine dies at 68

The Former Security Minister Gen Elly Tumwine is dead, top sources in the army can confirm. He was 68 years old.

Former Security Minister Gen Elly Tumwine is dead (Photo/File)

Former Security Minister Gen Elly Tumwine is dead. He was 68 years old at the time of his death.

The NRA bush war hero passed on at Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi Kenya where he was airlifted two weeks ago battling a strange illness.

Despite several sources initially declaring the General dead early this month, the UPDF would later come out to refute such reports and clarified that the Gen was still alive although ill, until today when he was pronounced dead.

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While handing over office to his successor, Maj Gen Jim Muhwezi, last year, Gen Tumwine said he would advise President Museveni to prepare for a smooth transition of power for a long-term stability of the country.

The controversial general also came under fire when he publically argued that security forces were justified to kill civilians during the November 2020 riots, sparked by the arrest of then presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine in Luuka District, which left more than 50 Ugandans dead.

In 2020, a section of legislators attempted to censure him on accusations that he had blocked the work of Parliament when the Committee on Human Rights was probing illegal detention centres or safe houses in the country, where many Ugandans have allegedly been tortured.

This was after then Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, commissioned the committee to investigate the alleged torture by Internal Security Organisation (ISO) that was running safe houses to torture people in Kalangala District and Kyengera in Wakiso District.

Gen Tumwine, while appearing before the Committee later admitted that government was running safe houses for intelligence purposes but not torturing civilians.


Tumwine was born on April 12, 1954, in Burunga, Mbarara District. He attended Burunga Primary School, Mbarara High School and St. Henry’s College Kitovu, before joining Makerere University, where he graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art in 1977.

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. Tumwine also held further military qualifications from the military academy in Vystry in the Soviet Union.

A fine artist by profession, Gen Tumwine joined the military struggle in 1978 under Front for National Salvation (Fronasa), the precursor to NRA.

After the 1980 General Election, Tumwine banded with Mr Museveni, who had lost in the presidential elections, and was to gain post-victory fame for firing the first bullet that started the five-year National Resistance Army (NRA) guerrilla war.

Tumwine is one of the 42 people armed with 27 guns who attacked Kabamba barracks to launch the NRA protracted war that five years later in 1986 would usher the current government to power.

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Having left his teaching career in 1978, Tumwine joined the FRONASA forces led by Museveni.

In 1981, when then rebel leader Yoweri Museveni went to the bush to form the National Resistance Army (NRA) after disputing the outcome of the 1980 elections, Tumwine went with him.

Gen Tumwine was also the longest-serving army representative in Parliament from 1996 to 2021. He served in several capacities in the NRM government with his last assignment being Security Minister from 2018 to 2021. He was a senior presidential adviser at the time of his death.

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