The General Commander of the police, Bernadino Rafael, on 22 January publicly sacked the police commander in Magude district, in Maputo province, Fabiao Nhantumbo.
According to a report by the independent television station STV, at a meeting in Magude Rafael criticised the lack of communication between the district command and the police rank and file, and the delays in issuing dispatches concerning police promotion.
When Rafael spoke to residents of the district, they complained at Nhantumbo's apparent ineffectiveness. They claimed that he was never present on the front line of fighting crime in the district.
"Our major concern in Magude is stock theft", said one resident, Timoteo Nguenha, "but when we undertake patrols the district commander is never there. The person who always accompanies us is the head of operations in the district command".
Another livestock farmer, Alexandre Manvico, complained that when a group of cattle thieves was recently caught, they were immediately released. "It was a group of seven heavily armed people", he said. "Nothing happens to them, even with confessions that they were responsible for stealing our cattle".
Rafael had heard the same concern from cattle farmers in the neighbouring province of Gaza, and he promised to work with the Attorney-General's Office and with the Supreme Court to provide explanations to rural communities about the criteria used to release individuals detained by the police.
As for Nhantumbo, Rafael replaced him on the spot by the head of operations. "You've already said that she is strong. So, if she's a strong woman, she will be district commander, and the current commander will have a desk job".