Who is Gen Elly Tumwine?
Who is Gen Elly Tumwine?

Who is Gen Elly Tumwine? Flash Uganda Media looks at his biography, early life, wife, daughter, education and family of the Ugandan Minister for Security.

Elly Tumwine is a Ugandan Military Officer, Professional Artist, and Educator. He serves as the Ugandan Minister for Security and the current Member of Parliament representing the army since 1986 till date.

He’s one of the highest-ranking members of the Uganda Military.

Early Life and Education

Gen Elly Tumwine was born on the 12 April 1954 in Burunga, Mbarara District. He attended Burunga Primary School, then Mbarara High School from where he obtained his East African Certificate of Education (EACE) in 1971. 

Then in 1973 Gen Tumwine obtained his East African Advanced Certificate of Education (EAACE) from St Henry’s College Kitovu.

Gen Tumwine in 1977, attained a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art, from Makerere University, together with a Diploma in Education, Makerere University; abbreviated BA (FA)/DIP.Ed. He specialized in the history of art painting.

In 1980, Tumwine was awarded a certificate in Officer Cadet Course at the Tanzania Military Academy, Monduli. 

In 1990, he attained a certificate in combined Army Course, at Vystry, Soviet Union (USSR).

In 2005, Gen Tumwine again attained a certificate. He Passed the Command and Staff College, Senior Command and Staff College, Kimaka, Jinja Uganda. He’s a member of the pioneer class.

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gen elly tumwine biography
During the NRA war that liberated Uganda, Tumwine sustained facial injuries that led to the loss of sight in one of his eyes.

Work and Experience

Gen Elly Tumwine has been a Member of Parliament representing the Army since1986 until date. 

He is the Senior Presidential Advisor on Defense and Security, Government of Uganda since 1996 till date.

Gen Tumwine served as the Director-General, External Security Organization (ESO) since 1994-1996.

2001-2006, Tumwine served as the Chairperson, General Court Martial Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF). He was promoted to the rank of General in September 2005.

In 1989, Gen Tumwine served as the State Minister for Defense.

Gen Tumwine served as the Army Commander UPDF.

In 1978-1978-1979, Gen Tumwine served as the Head, Arts Department, Kitunga High School.

1993-2010, he served as the chairperson Uganda Veterans Assistance Board. 1992-2000, Tumwine was the chairperson, Board of Trustees, Uganda National Cultural Centre.

Then from 1981 to date, Gen Tumwine has been a member of High Command, UPDF. 2018 to date, Tumwine serves as the Minister for Security.

2007 to date, Tumwine serves as a member on the Presidential Awards Committee.

Gen Elly Tumwine – Military Career

In 1978, Gen Elly Tumwine stopped teaching to join the FRONASA forces led by the current President of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to fight the Idi Amin regime.

Then In 1981, when Museveni went to the bush to form the National Resistance Army (NRA), Tumwine followed him. The General is said to have fired the first shot in the National Resistance Army War, which propelled the National Resistance Movement into power in Uganda in 1986.

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Gen Tumwine sustained facial injuries that led to the loss of sight in one of his eyes, during the NRA and UNLA war that liberated Uganda. 

In 1984, Tumwine was named Commander of the Army, a position he held until General Salim Saleh succeeded him.

Tumwine’s Art Career

In1977, soon after graduating from Makerere University, Elly Tumwine began teaching in various schools in Uganda, teaching Fine Art. 

Then after capturing power in 1986, Gen Tumwine 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.

Tumwine was then 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 organizations:

  • Uganda Manufacturers Association 
  • Uganda Small Scale Industries Association
  • Uganda Leather Allied Industries Association
elly tumwine minister for security
He stated that the Police have a right to shot and kill protestors.


In mid-November 2020, while addressing journalists at Uganda Media Centre Kampala, the Gen Elly Tumwine stated that the Police have a right to shot and kill protestors if they reach a certain level of violence.

Tumwine’s statement followed a two-day rioting country-wide that emerged after the arrest of presidential candidate Hon Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu demanding his release.

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His statement generated a public uproar, with many hitting back at Gen Tumwine and demanding an apology. Police fired teargas, live bullets and over 40 people lost lives in the event and some sustained serious injuries.

Tumwine before the Human Rights Committee

Gen Elly Tumwine was in February 2020, accused of contempt of Parliament. 

This was after Parliament debated the Parliamentary Human Rights Committee report that pinned the General for frustrating investigations into the torture of Ugandans by blocking MPs from accessing safe houses, blocking MPs from meeting the Internal Security Organization (ISO) Director Kaka Bagyenda and consistently undermining parliament.

A censure motion was then later moved, but along the way, it failed.  


  • Promotion of Art
  • Music
  • Farming 
  • Fashion design

Special Interests

  • Smart partnership
  • Volunteers Art-Corruption campaign Africa
  • Kampala revival fellowship
  • Knowledge centres institute
  • Elders’ Forum
  • Tree Planters Association

Professional Body  

  • Uganda Artists Association 
  • Companion of the Smart Partnership Movement
  • Tree Planters Association
  • Knowledge Centre Institute 
  • Kampala Revival Fellowship
  • Volunteer Anti-Corruption Campaign Africa


Gen Elly Tumwine is married with children but his wife lives a private life. 

However, one of his sons Eriya Tumwine Junior whose mother passed away when giving birth to him died in 2007 of Epileptic relapse.