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PROFILE: Here are Interesting Facts About the Late Gen Elly Tumwine

Gen Elly Tumwine

Former security minister Gen Elly Tumwine passed on August 25 morning after days of hospitalization. 

Here is a quick look at the life, times and interesting facts about one of Uganda’s most famous army generals.

  • Date of Birth: April 12, 1954
  • Place of Birth: Burunga, Mbarara District
  • Age at death: 68
  • Profession(s): Military officer, professional artist, teacher, politician


  • Primary education: Attended Burunga Primary School
  • Secondary Education: Mbarara High School and St. Henry’s College Kitovu

Higher Education

  • 1997: Joined Makerere University
  • Graduated with Bachelor of Arts Degree in Fine Art
  • Also had a Diploma in Education (majored in the History of Art Painting)

Military Qualifications

  • Graduate of Tanzania Military Academy Monduli (Cadet Officers Course)
  • Senior Command Course at the Uganda Senior Command and Staff College at Kimaka, in Jinja
  • Also attended Vystry Military Academic, Soviet Union

Military Career & Security/Defence Positions

  • 1978: Left teaching to join Museveni’s Fronasa rebels fighting Idi Amin
  • 1981: Joined Museveni’s National Resistance Army (NRA) to fight Milton Obote following the controversial 1980 general elections
  • Famous for firing the first shot in the NRA war during the attack on Kabamba.
  • Sustained injuries on his face; lost one eye during the war
  • Served as army commander until 1987. Replaced by Museveni’s younger brother Gen Caleb Akandwanaho aka Salim Saleh
  • 1989: Minister of State for Defence
  • 1994-1996: Director General of the External Security Organization (ESO)
  • 1996-1998: Presidential Advisor
  • 1986-1999: Chairman of the High Command Appeals Committee
  • 1986-2021: UPDF representative in Parliament of Uganda
  • 2005: Gen Tumwine was appointed Chairman of the General Court Martial
  • 2018: Appointed security minister replacing Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde
  • June 2021: Fired as security minister, replaced by Maj Gen (Rtd) Jim Muhwezi, appointed senior presidential advisor on security
  • May 2022: Officially retired from UPDF

Fine Art Career

  • Returned to his fine art career after the end of the NRA war
  • Used his skill to lead the team that designed the flag, the emblem and the green and camouflage uniforms of the UPDF
  • Served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the National Cultural Centre
  • 1992: Launched Creations Limited to promote arts and crafts industry.

Date of death: Thursday, August 25, 2022

Gen Elly Tumwine was confirmed dead on the morning of Thursday, August 25, 2022. (Read Story Here).

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