ARTHUR TUMWESIGYE: Gen. Tumwine’s Message Misunderstood


(L-R) Arthur Tumwesigye, a student of media and national security weighs in on Former Security minister Gen. Elly Tumwine’s statements. (RP Montage)

“I am happy to be handing over to Maj. Gen Jim Muhwezi, a friend and an old-time comrade.  I promise my resolute commitment to you in executing your official duties at the Ministry. As I take on my new advisory role, I will advise our President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to prepare for a smooth transition of power for the long-term stability of our country,” Gen. Tumwine said in his handover speech.

On Wednesday, June 23, 2021, Hon. Gen Elly Tumwine handed over the office of the Minister of security to Maj. Gen Jim Muhwezi, a bush war veteran and a colleague in the armed struggle that ushered in the National Resistance Movement government in 1986.

While delivering his handover speech, the outgoing Minister of Security Gen Tumwine and the incoming senior presidential adviser on Security highlighted his intention to advise the President to prepare for a smooth transition of power for the long-term stability of Uganda.

Naturally, one enjoys the right to speak but he/she does not have any right to be understood. Analogously, the former army commander exercised one of his inherent rights to speak his mind but did not have the same to be understood by many because of their selfish motives.

The media (Electronic, social media and print media) became a wash of allegations, inappropriate attributions, indecent satirical hyperbole, inaccurate television and radio commentary, and of course, online insults in regards to Gen Elly Tumwine’s statement.

The former chairman of the court-martial used very simple and comprehensible English in his remarks. Smooth transition of power. For the purpose of this column, a smooth transition of power is a peaceful transition or a concept important to democratic governments in which the leadership of a government peacefully hands over control of government to a newly-elected leadership. I hope this too will not be trivialized as the Minister’s statements.

Surprisingly, it’s those that we refer to as elites that have brown the senior army officer’s statement out of proportion. The lingering question is who (whether in opposition or the movement) does not want a smooth transition of power in our country, in other words, who prefers war or coercion as a suitable alternative means of power transfer?

I am sure no one in their right thinking mind is against a smooth transition of power. Gen Tumwine, by character, is completely incomparable to some of his colleagues who have since deviated from the ideology of the NRA/M. Gen.Tumwine’s unmatched loyalty to his commander in chief speaks volumes, unfortunately, because of their despondency and of course egomania, those in the opposition are now using this statement to create bad dissension between Gen Tumwine and his mentor- President Museveni.

Many went on to question the timing of his remarks.  At his age and experience in the process of peacebuilding and armed conflict, Tumwine knows more than many of these commentators that the long term stability of any country is a process that requires several strategic undertakings by those in the current leadership.  

Indubitably, given the deliverables of his new role as a senior presidential advisor on security, Gen Tumwine has started his job on a right footing, unlike some ministers who are still ordering Italian suits and baying for Toyota guzzlers to show up at the office for duty.  

Unlike many advisers who do not have the tenacity to perform their duties, Gen Tumwine has demonstrated that he will perform his duties in his position without fear or favour.

In an interview broadcasted on NTV Uganda, Gen. Mugisha Muntu, a former army commander like Gen Tumwine, clearly stated that many in the NRM will treat the statement of the bush-war comrade with an unnecessary hostility because of the fanaticism nature of many in the party and his prediction was precise.  

In my view, Gen Tumwine intimated as a four-star General of the NRA, elder, friend, and of course, in his official position as a senior advisor to the president on security- which is the backbone of long term stability of any country on earth.

But because of the extremist nature of many of the cohorts, Tumwine’s statements have been treated as a dissenting voice against the President and the party which is appalling given his long term loyalty to the aforesaid. The egomaniacs in the opposition have tried to trivialize his statement to drag him into their camps. Both groups are opportunists intentionally misinterpreting Gen.Tumwine’s statement because of their vested interests.  


The writer is a student of media and national security.

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