Today, we are mourning the passing on of a National hero, a true patriot, a freedom fighter, a revolutionary, a Pan Africanist, an icon of the liberation struggles against dictatorial regimes in Uganda; a decorated General of the National Resistance Army /UPDF.
We are mourning a man who contributed immensely to the forging of the history of our motherland and whose name is synonymous with our liberation struggles. As his colleagues in the UPDF, we are saddened by the loss of this great son of Africa and we condole with his wife Jolly and family, relatives, friends and the entire UPDF fraternity.
Since his passing on, we have had so many testimonies of the great life and sterling contributions of Gen Tumwine towards making this country a better place to live in. His fruitful life at the service of the people’s cause cannot, therefore, be summarized in just a few words.
Gen Tumwine began his military career in 1979 when he joined the Anti Amin forces of FRONASA. He belonged to a generation of fearless young people who joined the armed struggle, ready to make sacrifices including paying the ultimate price-death. These are the courageous gallant sons of Uganda that changed the course of history.
At the time of his demise, Gen Tumwine was among the few survivors of the famous Monduli 17 Group that was to form the core of the officer Corp/leadership during the Protracted people’s armed struggle in what was then known as the Luwero Triangle.
Like many fearless youths of his time, he responded to the clarion call to join the armed struggle against dictatorship and tyranny at a time when the human currency in Uganda had been so devalued that a number of corpses on the streets of Kampala was regarded as nothing out of the ordinary.
He was among the 27-armed fighters who attacked Kabamba military barracks on the 06th Feb 1981 and indeed personally ignited the 5-year war of resistance against dictatorship in Uganda by shooting the first bullet in the attack.
Gen Tumwine was a strong, committed and patriotic cadre who served his nation with passion and loyalty and contributed immensely to the peace and stability we are enjoying in this country today.
For the cause of the revolution, Gen Tumwine gave his sweat, energy and blood. He sacrificed and risked his life including losing a precious part of his body during the struggle. He gave in his youthful life to fight for his country and its people. God helped him to achieve it and he has no doubt left his country a better place for all of us to live in. He was an untiring revolutionary fighter; a bulwark of the NRA revolution and his name will always be remembered for the monumental contribution he made in the struggle against tyranny and in the fight for peace and freedom in Uganda.
Gen Tumwine was a mentor to many, both in the military who looked to him and admired his courage and bravery and civilians who loved his sincerity and openness. He always took pride and was never shy about sharing his life experiences whether negative or positive because he believed that both experiences would make people better citizens.
Gen Tumwine was one of the longest-serving members of Parliament representing a constituency he loved with all his heart -the UPDF for 35 years.
Dear mourners, we are not going to lay to rest a dead man in the strict sense of the word but to plant a seed. As we send off this great revolutionary, we in the UPDF have a patriotic duty to keep the flame he lit burning. In his example, we find an inexhaustible source of inspiration and we vow to continue his struggle – to pick up his spear where it has fallen. As late Comrade Samora Machel once said – “Personalities and fame pass, the revolution must remain”.
Affende Elly; You have fought a good fight; you have accomplished your mission. We will always remember and cherish your invaluable contribution to the peace, security, stability, freedom and development of our motherland Uganda. We owe you a debt of gratitude for your selfless sacrifices; You have left an indelible footprint and your name will be permanently engraved in our hearts. Your legacy will live forever.
Fare thee well Freedom fighter.
Fare thee well our mentor,
You join your departed Comrades in the struggle and I have no doubt in my mind that if you find injustice where you have gone, you will carry on the struggle. May the Good lord accept your soul in the most comfortable place in heaven.
Adieu Affende Gen Elly Tumwine.
LT GEN JAMES MUGIRA, M.P (UPDF)