Makerere University students attached to Lumumba Hall last night gathered in honor of Gen. Elly Tumwine, a fellow Lumumbist who died of lung cancer of Thursday in Nairobi.
The students shouted slogans of praise, recognizing the role played by the fallen four-star general during his time at the University and in the revolution.
Burial programme shows that Tumwine will be laid to rest at his home in Kazo on Tuesday.
Gen. Tumwine at Makerere University
In 1976, Tumwine, who graduated in 1977 with a BA in Fine Art, would participate in the historical strike following the killing of a student, Paul Sserwanga. He was brutally murdered by suspected Idd Amin State Research Bureau operatives. The then Guild President, Olara Otunnu organized a protest march in Kampala.
Gen. Tumwine played a crucial role in that protest. He and others printed the placards for the protest. Tumwine joined a protest called by Lumumba hall chairperson, Kagata Namiti for a march to the City Square up to Kibuli where Paul Sserwanga was buried. That day turned out to be the infamous “Black Tuesday in Makerere University’s history.
Tumwine narrowly escaped arrest by hiding in the wardrobe as soldiers broke into halls of residences targeting students that had participated in the strike. He joined the likes of Dr. Kiiza Besigye, Henry Tumukunde, and David Tinyefunza aka David Sejjusa.
Shortly after the official opening of Lumumba Hall in 1971, the Uganda Army soldiers raided Mary Stuart, or Box, the female hall of residence next to Lumumba. Students of Lumumba engaged the soldiers in a fight during which one of the male students named Gongom died. From this point on, a Lumumba-Box or Lumbox solidarity was born. A monument was erected in his honor. The Gongom monument is addressed as His Majesty, Highness, and dressed in a graduation gown.
This attire inspires students to read and work hard but is also a symbol of unity. During the invasion, the soldiers destroyed “Gongom”. “We discovered that gongom had been destroyed, and this time we made a big sculpture together with Kibira who was good in metal welding. So we said let’s give gongom a real height, give him a long penis, to show that he is in charge of this place,” Tumwine told URN in an interview.
Adding that, “After some time, we said gongom can’t be alone, then we went and sculptured gongomes.” In 1978, Elly Tumwine abandoned his teaching job to join the FRONASA forces led by Yoweri Museveni. “When I joined the armed forces, I did everything from cooing to carrying luggage. Because the president had taught me in P7 and when I heard that he was the one leading the group, and we were tired of Iddi Amin, I joined him,” he said.
In 1981, when Museveni went to the bush to form the National Resistance Army (NRA), Tumwine went with him. He is reported to have fired the first shot in the Luwero triangle war. He has served as Army commander, Minister of State for Defence, Minister of Security, Director General of the External Security Organization (ESO), and Army MP among others.