General Elly Tumwine has today finally been laid to rest at his ancestral home in Rwemikoma sub-county, Kazo District.
Tumwine was accorded a 17-gun salute amid a somber mood from family, relatives and friends for his final send off.
The former security minister succumbed to lung cancer on August 25th at Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya. He was aged 68.
The Chief Mourner at the event was Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja. Other government dignitaries that were present included the Minister of State for Defence, Oboth Oboth, Minister of Security, Maj. Gen. Jim Muhwezi and Minister of Works and Transport General Edward Katumba Wamala among others.
“The peace and stability that Gen. Elly Tumwine with others fought for, which we now have, we need to guard that jealously,” Minister Oboth Oboth said.
The Minister of Internal Affairs, Maj. Gen. Kahinda Otafiire said Tumwine sent him a message before he left for Nairobi. “He said that he was not coming back and also asked me not to divert from what we were fighting for.”
Edna Tumwine, daughter of the late Gen Tumwine said; “Daddy talked about forgiveness during his last moments on earth. I ask for forgiveness from all those my dad wronged and even those who wronged him, he forgave you. May we choose forgiveness and peace from now on.”
Former Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa said: “We have said so many things about Elly Tumwine but he was very passionate about everything he loves, be it the army or painting. He was also a man of his word who had a great love for children.”
Tumwine was born on April 12, 1954. 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 joined the military in 1978 after interrupting his teaching career to join the FRONASA forces led by Museveni.
In 1981, when Museveni went to the bush after the 1980 elections to form the National Resistance Army (NRA), Tumwine went with him and fired the first bullet in the NRA which propelled the NRA and National Resistance Movement into power.
During the fighting between the NRA and the UNLA, Tumwine sustained facial injuries that led to loss of sight in one eye.
In 1984, he was named Commander of the Army, a post he held for three years until 1987, when he was succeeded by General Salim Saleh. In September 2005, he was promoted to the rank of General in the UPDF and chair of the UPDF General Court Martial.
During his career, he held 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 also represented the UPDF in Parliament.