President Rupiah Banda has with immediate effect fired all defence chiefs and their deputies.
President Banda made the announcement during a press briefing at State House Wednesday morning.
Zambia Army commander general Isaac Chisuzi, Air force commander Lieutenant General Mapala, and Zambia National Service commandant Major General Chisheta and their deputies have been dropped.
President Banda hinted that he may assign the retired defence chiefs to other duties.
Meanwhile, QFM radio writes that President Banda has replaced General Chisuzi with Brigadier General W.L Lopa who he has promoted to the rank of Major General and was until his appointment Defence Attaché at the Zambian Mission in Ethiopia Addis Ababa.
Mr Banda has replaced ZAF commander Major General Mapala with retired Brigadier General Andrew Sakala who he has recalled and promoted to the rank of Major General, and has replaced ZNS commandant Major General Chisheta with Brigadier General Yeta from the Zambia Army who he has also promoted to the rank of Major General.
He stated that the retirement of the defence chiefs is in no way for reasons of failure to perform or loyalty but rather necessary in the life and interest of the unit they have served diligently.
The commander-in-chief has thanked them all for their service and loyalty to the nation and promised to deploy to other appropriate positions.
And president Banda has defended his decision to recall retired Brigadier General Andrew Sakala as ZAF commander despite stating that his decision to retire the defence chiefs was partly to give room for middle and low ranking officers to rise.
Meanwhile president Rupiah Banda has warned opposition parties that they will be meet by the wrath of the law if they try to wage violence during the 2011 general election.
Mr Banda says no individual no matter how powerful they are and which political party they belong to will be allowed to perpetuate violence during the 2011 elections.
He says government has the mandate to ensure that Zambia continues to be peaceful.
Below is what president Banda said:
I have retired General I.S. Chisuzi, Zambia Army Commander until now from the Army.
General Chisuzi has served with diligence and loyalty.
I do hope Gen. Chisuzi will accept my offer to re-deploy him to a position where he can continue to serve his country which he has protected so professionally. On behalf of all Zambian and on my own behalf, I thank you General, for the service you have rendered to your country, Zambia.
I have retired Major General E.P. Mutwale, Deputy Army Commander and Chief of Staff from the Zambia Army.
Major General Mutwale has also served diligently and with loyalty.
I will be discussing with General Mutwale possible re-deployment as well.
I thank you Major General Mutwale on behalf of all Zambians and on my own behalf.
I have promoted Brigadier General W.M. Lopa who has been our Defence Attaché in Addis Ababa to the rank of Major General and appointed him as Zambia Army Commander.
I have promoted Colonel V.M. Mukanda currently Deputy Commandant at MILTEZ to the rank of Brigadier General and I have appointed him Deputy Army Commander and Chief of Staff.
ZAMBIA AIR FORCE
I have retired Lt. Gen. S. Mapala currently Zambia Air Force Commander from the Air Force
Lt. Gen. Mapala has exhibited quality leadership and professionalism at all times.
I hope that he too will accept my officer to re-deploy him in a different position so that the country can continue to benefit from his experience, knowledge and skills.
Lt. Gen. Mapala, on behalf of all Zambians and on my own behalf, I thank you.
I have also retired Major General E. Chengeta the current Deputy Air Force Commander from the Air Force.
I will be discussing with him as well, the possibility of re-deploying him to some appropriate position so that he too can continue to contribute to his country’s development.
I again wish to express the gratitude of all Zambians and, indeed, myself to you Maj. Gen. Chingeta. Thank you.
I have recalled Brig. Gen. Andrew Sakala recently retired from the Air Force and have promoted him to the rank of Major General and appointed him as the new Zambia Air Force Commander to take over from Lt. Gen. Mapala.
I have appointed Brig. Gen. Monta J. Chileshe currently Chief of Operations in the Air Force as the new Deputy Commander, Zambia Air Force.
ZAMBIA NATIONAL SERVICE
I have retired Maj. Gen. Chisheta the current Commandant of the Zambia National Service from the Zambia Army from which he was seconded and replaced him as Commandant.
As is the case with the others, Gen. Chisheta has served diligently and with loyalty. I intend to deploy him too to an appropriate position where he too can continue to contribute to his country’s growth.
On behalf of all Zambians and, indeed, on my own behalf, I thank you for the many years of dedicated service.
I have also retired Brig. Gen. J.M. Miti the Deputy Commandant, Zambia National Service.
I will be discussing with him too of possibilities regarding his future.
Brig. Gen. Miti, I want, on behalf of all Zambians, to thank you too for the service rendered to your country. Thank you.
I have promoted Brig. Gen. Yeta to the rank of Major General and have appointed him Zambia National Service Commandant. He is seconded from the Zambia Army to the Zambia National Service.
Finally, I have appointed Brig. General Nathan Mulenga currently Zambia National Service Secretary at the Ministry of Defence Headquarters to the position of Deputy Commandant, Zambia National Service.
The retirements and appointments are with immediate effect.
Thank you and God Bless our country, Zambia