Controversial ward 24 councillor Arnold Batirai Dube, who caused a stir at the first sitting of the Bulawayo City Council when he took his oath of office in Shona, has defended his stance saying he was a victim of tribalism.

Dube, who hails from Masvingo, stirred controversy when he turned up late for his swearing-in ceremony and visibly drunk.

He accused former ward 24 councillor Gideon Mangena and the Mthwakazi Republic Party for attempting to derail his ascension into the council.

“Taking my oath in Shona triggered the Mthwakazi guys who were sent by the former Councillor to boo me during my swearing in because on my way to the chambers, they insulted me,” he said.

Councillor Dube, revealed that he had a long-standing dispute with Mangena whom he defeated to land the council seat.

 “Mangena’s agenda was to get the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to disqualify me so he could be voted in as councillor. The courts, however, dismissed the case because there was no evidence,” he said.

“The party fielded me as a sole candidate but unfortunately old Mangena who was a serving councillor for the past 10 years refused to step down and both of us ended up contesting for the seat”.

Batirai is currently facing allegations of forging MDC Alliance’s Chief of Staff Sesel Zvidzai’s signature declaring him the party sole local government candidate in Ward 24.

He, however, dismissed the allegations saying he was framed.

“It’s a created situation, how can ZEC allow me to contest for elections if I had forged a signature, I should have been arrested,” he said.

Contacted for comment, both Mangena and the Mthwakazi Republic Party denied allegations of targeting Dube.

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