Gen Elly Tumwine survived death umpteen times- ‘brother’


Dr Elly Karuhanga has revealed that his brother and friend Gen Elly Tumwine has lived a life with death roaming around him since his childhood.

Karuhanga’s emotional eulogy to Gen Tumwine reveals a number of scenarios where Gen Tumwine survived death by a whisker, going on to live until his death in Nairobi aged 68.

“When all is said and done there comes unwelcome but sure death and so it has been with Gen.Tumwine,” Dr Karuhanga.

Born in 1954 in Burunga, present Kazo District to Ruhondeire and Ednasi Kazigirye, Gen Tumwine became a born again and has been known as God loving individual.

He went to Kitovu Secondary school and Makerere University in 1974 to graduate in fine Art and Education and immediately joined FRONASA in 1978.

Gen Tumwine started fighting for liberation while a student at Makerere University and attached to the chaotic Lumumba Hall.

During his time there, he joined other students to protest against the regime of Idi Amin Dada and as a result, security personnel descended on the hall of residence and murdered the students.

This is one of the closest shaves to death that Gen Tumwine has had, surviving this day by hiding in the wardrobe.

“General Tumwine has told many of us how lightning struck their home when he was young, killed his brothers Mwesigye and another. Tumwine survived with injuries on his stomach. Death, it wasn’t your day!” Dr Karuhanga eulogises.

“As a young herdsboy, on three different occasions, he was bitten by a snake. He survived. Death, it wasn’t your day.”

“He was shot in his head and lost his eye on 1st November 1981 in Bukomero in an ambush by enemy fire Elly survived,” Dr Karuhanga continues.

According to Dr Karuhanga, General Tumwine was being preserved by God for he had a mission and a vision to accomplish for his country.

He continues to eulogise as follows;

His remarkable journey for this mission started in 1978 when he joined his teacher, commander, and leader Yoweri Museveni whom he admired so much until he breathed his last. When they returned in 1979 or 80, he and the late Sam Magara and the late Kanyungutuzi had turned Hon. Mathew Rukikaire’s house, Prince Tendo’s house and my house into hideouts for soldiers and arms. Which was a high risk for our lives.

No doubt, UPDF and parliament will catalogue in much finer detail than myself. But suffice it to say that he was convinced that neither Death nor fear would Stand between him and the liberation, democracy and happiness of his people.  By the time he took up arms to achieve his objectives, Uganda with its small population at the time of fewer than 14 million people, was the fourth largest exporter of refugees. He died when Uganda is the number one Importer of unfortunate people called refugees from all over the world! And Ugandans are in complete charge of its future. There is nothing nobler and a higher call than sacrificing and risking your life for your country’s better future.

He wrote and sang patriotic songs for Uganda. He loved his culture and cherished his history. He was an artist per Excellence and he advocated for its enhancement and organizing arts and all creative arts. He made it one of the sectors in the Private Sector Foundation under my current leadership. He designed the five thousand Shilling Note, he designed a camouflage army Uniform for UPDF, he designed logos and insignias of the army. He superintended over Hero’s awards and he headed various Ministries and Departments. He was the longest-serving parliamentarian since 1986.

After Uganda, he liberated his Mindset next. He made his own attire. He never saw the importance of a tie!Gen.Tumwine, never minced or sugarcoated his words. often he would speak with command and authority yet his heart was as soft as jelly. He loved passionately and he gave generously.

We exchanged many cows, two at a time. He showed me his book, a register for the 900 cows he had given to his friends and to those who were more unfortunate than himself over time. He cared for many orphans and widows and paid school fees for very many people.

I always told him that he reminded me of the indomitable Gen Moshe Dayan who lost his eye in battle, became minister of Defense for Israel and later died of Cancer. What a striking coincidence. Death has been close to me throughout my life,'' he told the Israeli radio five days before he died. ''I don't see death as a negative thing. Sooner or later I will lie on the hill in the Nahalal cemetery with my family.'

His daughter told me that while he was in comma, Jolly read him his favourite bible verse, Isaiah 43:1 But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.

Please forgive him if he wronged you.

He has kept the faith, he has fought the fight, and the glory and the crown await him

I want to thank Elly for his contribution to our country. We have known each other for more than 43 years and he has always been an open book. You have left the country you loved.

You have witnessed its giant steps. You have natured and grown its mighty UPDF. In the army, you showed loyalty and patriotism. In Parliament, you participated in all Democratic processes. You gave your all. When challenged for your strong views you faced it with humility and candour. In culture, you stood on the side of history. In creative arts, you showed your talent and originality. You sang for Uganda’s flora and fauna. You highlighted our fresh waters and mountains, you depicted Uganda’s beauty in your songs and writings.

I can see Gen. Tumwine looking lovingly at his wife and kids. I see him looking at UPDF and its commander in Chief Gen Yoweri Museveni and saluting, saying, colleagues mission accomplished Aluta continua.

looking ahead to heaven,being received by UPDF Collegues,singing Tusongee tusongee mpaka Sayuni

Fare thee well my brother.

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