Elly Tumwine

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Omuyaaye Elly Tumwine
Born (1954-04-12) 12 April 1954 (age 64)
ResidenceKampala, Uganda
EducationMakerere University
(Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art)
(Diploma in Education)
Tanzania Military Academy
(Officer Cadet Course)
Uganda Senior Command and Staff College
(Senior Command and Staff Course)
OccupationEducator and Military officer
Years active1981 – present
Home townMbarara

General Elly Tumwine (born 12 April 1954) 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.[1][2]

Early life and education[edit]

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.[3] Tumwine also holds further military qualifications from the military academy in Vystry, in the Soviet Union.

Military career[edit]

In 1978, he interrupted his teaching career to join the 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), Elly Tumwine went with him. He is reported to have fired the first shot in the National Resistance Army War, which propelled the National Resistance Army and National Resistance Movement into power in Uganda in 1986.[4] During the fighting between the NRA and the UNLA, Tumwine sustained facial injuries that led to loss of sight in one eye.[5] In 1984, Tumwine was named Commander of the Army, a post he held until 1987, when he was succeeded by General Salim Saleh. 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 has also continuously represented the UPDF in the Ugandan Parliament since 1986.[6]

In September 2005, he was promoted to the rank of General in the UPDF and named to Chair the UPDF General Court Marshal.[7]


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 (UMA)
  • Uganda Small Scale Industries Association (USSIA)
  • Uganda Leather Allied Industries Association (ULAIA)

Personal details[edit]

Tumwine is married, and he is a born-again Christian.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lumu, David Tash (30 January 2013). "General Tumwine on the State of NRM". The Observer. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  2. ^ Nkonge I Kaggwa, . (3 October 2013). "General Tumwine Urges Parliament to Declare Sejusa's Seat Vacant". The London Evening Post. Retrieved 13 May 2014.
  3. ^ Newvision, Archive (6 September 2005). "Kimaka Graduates Report on Friday". New Vision. Retrieved 13 May 2014.
  4. ^ Matsiko, Haggai (31 January 2013). "The Forgotten Original NRA 27". The Independent. Archived from the original on 14 May 2014. Retrieved 13 May 2014.
  5. ^ Kato, Joshua (10 June 2011). "General Elly Tumwine: Fired the First Shot In NRA War". New Vision. Archived from the original on 14 May 2014. Retrieved 13 May 2014.
  6. ^ "General Elly Tumwine's Page at Parliament.go.ug". Parliament of Uganda. Retrieved 13 May 2014.
  7. ^ Allio, Emmy (21 August 2005). "Tumwine Re-Appointed Court Boss". New Vision. Retrieved 13 May 2014.

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Lieutenant Colonel Sam Magara
Commander of the National Resistance Army
1984 – 1987
Succeeded by
General Salim Saleh