Who is Edward Katumba Wamala?: Flash Uganda Media looks at his biography, age, wife, daughter, family, work and experience, political career, assassination, early life and education of the current Minister of Works and Transport.
Edward Katumba Wamala is a Ugandan General who serves as Minister of Works and Transport in the Ugandan cabinet, since 14 December 2019 and former Inspector General of Police Uganda.
His wish is to be remembered as someone who contributed something positive to the growth of this country.
Early Life and Education
Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala was born on 19 November 1956, in Bweeza village Kalangala District, Ssese Islands to Henry Wamala and Marjorie Wamala (R.I.P). He’s the last born of the nine children in his father’s house.
Gen Katumba spent his early childhood with his parents but later moved on to stay with his sister whom he describes as a disciplinarian and his fatherly brother who took him through school.
He started school at Nakibizzi primary school, at the time classroom floors acted as seats for pupils as well as writing spaces. Later, they progressed to slates; tiny wooden panels painted black and potato leaves as writing materials.
Gen. Katumba later moved to Kasubi primary school, a Kampala suburb where he completed his primary seven. This is because his brother and mother had relocated to Kasubi. At Kasubi P/S, Katumba says, he learnt a lesson that pushed him to greater heights.
Then Old Kampala Senior Secondary School and later joined Bukalasa Agricultural College where he attained a certificate in agriculture.
While studying at Old Kampala Senior Secondary School, Gen Katumba wanted to become a doctor but he ended up at Bukalasa Agricultural College where he attained a certificate in agriculture and he emerged as the best student in 1979.
“I did sciences for prestige and ended up performing poorly, and not being admitted to Makerere University, the only university at that time.”
But this was the year that the liberation war launched by exiled Ugandans in Tanzania to overthrow the then Ugandan President Gen. Idi Amin’s regime climaxed. By April 1979, Amin had seen ousted and the Uganda National Liberation Front/Army (UNL/A) formed the new government.
When the new UNLF government called for application for those with qualifications of senior six and above to join as officers cadets, Katumba and some colleagues under a group they called ‘Baana ba Kintu’ joined in May 1979.
He says they wanted to be “change agents” because he had studied with some of Amin’s soldiers at Bukalasa and seen firsthand, how violent and badly behaved they were.
One time, Katumba and his elder brother, Benon Sentongo; whom he refers to as ‘daddy’ for the great role he played in raising him, were harassed by a soldier at a checkpoint for failing to offer him a lift. Unknown to them, the soldier took another vehicle and arrived at another checkpoint before them and they harassed them for over seven hours.
Katumba says the recruitment process was far from what he had expected as a civilian. He and others who had gone as far as College and High School did not anticipate the tough recruitment process. They arrive dressed in suits with bellbottom trousers and trending thick-soled Gabon shoes. When the drills started, the heels were the first to go.
Katumba says one of the things that helped him persevere was having a leadership background in high school and college that prepared him for the bigger world.
“The body has to be conditioned and mind tested on patience, resilience and temper.”
He has vivid memories of when he was teased countless times to choose between stockings for the left and right leg. He later discovered that it was a test for his patience and resilience.
After nine months, Katumba was among the 300 first cadets passed out with about only 20 still living including Gen. Elly Tumwine, Gen Pecos Kuteesa and others.
The following year, Lieutenant Katumba was posted to his first work station in Moroto at a time when Karamojonj’s had just acquired guns from fleeing soldiers of the defeated Amin regime and there was real hunger. The naked Karamonj’s men and children shocked him, but he stayed.
Today, he prides himself in his 37 years of service in the army without skipping any rank.
In 2007, he graduated from Nkumba University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations and Diplomacy.
He holds a Master’s degree of Science in strategic leadership from the United States Army War College.
Gen Katumba has military qualifications from the following military schools.
- Uganda Military Academy, at the time of his qualification school, was located in Jinja, Jinja District, before it was moved to Kabamba in Mubende District.
- Tanzania Military Academy, at Monduli
- Tanzania Military Academy, a military Academy based in Tanzania.
- A military academy in the former Soviet Union (USSR)
- Nigerian Command and Staff College, at Jaji, Kaduna State
- The United States Army Command and General Staff College, at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas
- The United States Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, 1999-2000 at the rank of Major General
- Uganda Military Academy Basic Officers Course
- Tanzania Military Academy, Junior Staff College
- Nigerian Command and Staff College, Senior Staff College
- US Army Command Staff and General Staff College, Strategic Studies Course
Work and Experience
Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala is the current Minister for Works and Transport of Uganda.
Before, from 17 January 2017 until 14 December 2019, he served as Minister of State for Works in the Ugandan cabinet under president Museveni’s leadership.
Previously, he served as the chief of defence forces of Uganda, the highest military rank in the Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF), from 2013 until 2017.
Gen Katumba was the commander of land forces in the UPDF from 2005 to 2013.
In his role as Commander of the land forces, he was closely engaged in the Peace-Keeping Mission that the UPDF performs in Somalia, commonly referred to as AMISOM.
On the 23rd of May 2013, he was promoted to the rank of four-star general and appointed Chief of Defense Forces.
He also served as the Inspector General of Police (IGP) of the Uganda Police Force (UPF), the highest rank in that branch of Uganda’s government, from 2001 until 2005, becoming the first military officer to serve in the highest capacity within the Uganda police force.
He was then promoted to Lieutenant General and given the title of Commander of the land forces, based at Bombo military barracks, making him one of the highest senior officers in the Ugandan military.
Gen Katumba Wamala was the first active UPDF soldier to serve as the head of the UPF.
A government probe into mismanagement in the police, which came to be called ‘The Sebutinde Commission’, had just issued a report of its findings and Katumba was to implement its recommendations.
This came with dismissal, suspension, and investigation of some officers which did not go down well with many.
He describes his tenure in the police as the most challenging of all his service because “the army and the police are two different institutions as one is about fighting the enemy while the latter is about dealing with suspected criminals.” Only the strategic leadership training he had pursued in the USA helped him thrive.
In 2005, Gen Katumba was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General and fell back into the army as Commander Land Forces. On May 23, 2013, he was promoted to the rank of four-star General and appointed Chief of Defense Forces (CDF).
Katumba says he could not ask for more.
He says “37 years of service with no scratch on the body and never lost an eye or leg, never been before a disciplinary committee of the army or the civilian court is such a great achievement.”
He attributes it to the humble background that pushed him to work hard without being compromised.
He commanded the UPDF Forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Gen Katumba was an officer in the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA) and when the National Resistance Army (NRA) defeated the UNLA in 1986. He transitioned into the NRA without incident.
Between 2000 and 2001, at the rank of major general, he commanded the UPDF forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
On June 1, 2021, Gen. Katumba narrowly escaped death when unknown four gunmen trailing his vehicle on motorbikes shot several times at his car from the front and sides; they trailed him from his home.
He had travelled 4 kilometres (2.5miles) from his house on his way to Masaka to attend his mother in law’s burial ceremony.
Gen Katumba’s daughter Brenda Wamala Nantongo and his driver Haruna Kayondo suffered death on spot following the shooting at his car along Kasota road in Kisaasi, a Kampala suburb.
He was rescued by his bodyguard Khalid Koboyoit who jumped out of the car and shot in the air to scare aware the assassins.
However, Gen Katumba sustained gunshot injuries on his shoulder and arm.
He was rushed to Medipal Hospital, Kampala for specialized treatment after receiving first aid at Malcolm Clinic Kisaasi a Kampala suburb, aided by a Good Samaritan Hakim Kasibante a boda boda rider alongside his bodyguard who survived with no injuries.
Gen Edward Katumba Wamala is married to Christine Katumba.
And together they’re parents of one son Julius Katumba and five daughters, one of them now the late Brenda Wamala Nantongo, Belinda Wamala and the other three daughters and grandparents.
He married Catherine in 1987, his high school girlfriend.