The Zambia Air Force says its Commander Lieutenant General Eric Chimese has taken leave whilst President Edgar Lungu has appointed his deputy, Major General D.M Muma, to act in his place.

According to a statement issued by ZAF Colonel M. Katukula, Tuesday, Lt Gen Chimese is on leave.

“Pursuant to the powers vested in the President of the Republic of Zambia Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, under article 98 (2) of the Constitution of Zambia as read with Section 165 (1) of the Defense Act CAP 106 of the laws of Zambia, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces has appointed Major General D.M. Muma (911467) to act as Air Force Commander vide Lieutenant General E.M. Chimese (911475) who proceeds on leave. The appointment is with immediate effect,” read the statement.

There is speculation that state agencies are investigating Lt Gen Chimese for abuse of office. And that the President has put him on indefinite leave to pave way for investigation into theft by public servant.

However, another narrative suggests that Lt Gen Chimese is being prepared to head the Zambia Airways once it launches in October.

The General has not been picking calls since rumors started circulating, Monday, and his phone was unreachable at the time of writing.

President Lungu has also appointed Brigadier General K. Chintu to act as deputy Air Force commander with immediate effect.

“Arising from the foregoing para 2 above, Brigadier General K. Chintu (910908) will act as Deputy Air Force Commander and Chief of Air Staff (COAIRS),” read the statement.