Dear Jolly, Daudi and family,
His Excellency the President and Commander in Chief of the UPDF,
Members of the High Command,
Officers, men and women of UPDF,
Fellow citizens, ladies and gentlemen,
On behalf of my family Please accept our deepest condolences on the passing of Afande Elly Tumwine.
My brother, my friend your death was unbearable.
Writing this Eulogy was a daunting but welcome responsibility.
Dear mourners when all is said and done there comes unwelcome but sure death and so it has been with Gen. Tumwine.
Born in 1954 in Burunga, Kazo district, son of Ruhondeire and Ednasi Kazigirye evangelists who got saved during the East African revival. He named his daughter Edna after his mother. He went to Kitovu Secondary school and Makerere University in 1974 to graduate in fine Art and Education and immediately joined FRONASA in 1978.
At Makerere, he was noticeable in fighting for freedom in Amin’s government.
While at Makerere he was part of a group of students who rioted and protested against the Amin regime. Soldiers went to the University and killed students as a result including Paul Serwanga. I was the state Attorney in the ministry of Justice and I was appointed secretary to the commission of inquiry to look into the killings of Makerere University students. During the raid by the soldiers, young Tumwine and others survived the hunt by hiding in a tiny wardrobe. It just wasn’t his day.
General Tumwine has told many of us how lightning struck their home when he was young, and killed his brothers Mwesigye and another. Tumwine survived with injuries to his stomach. Death, it wasn’t your day!
As a young herds boy, 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. Thank you, professor Tumwine, in Mulago at that time, thank you NRA cadres led by Mathew Rukikaire, especially my twin brother Hon. John Nasasira who accommodated and took care of him for about a year.
General Tumwine was being preserved by God for he had a mission and a vision to accomplish for his country.
His remarkable journey for this mission started in 1978 when he joined his teacher, commander, leader Yoweri Museveni whom he admired so much until he breathed his last. When they returned in 1979 or 80, him and the late Sam Magara and 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 catalog in much more 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 less than 14 million people, was the fourth largest exporter of refugees.
He has 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 Private Sector Foundation under my current leadership. He designed the five thousand Shilling Note, he designed a camouflage army Uniform for UPDF, and 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 sugar-coated 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 favorite 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 Colleagues, singing Tusongee tusongee mpaka Sayuni!
Fare thee well my brother.
Eulogy of Hon. Gen Elly Tumwine by Hon Dr. Elly Karuhanga.