Trial date for MDC councillor set

The trial date for Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Ward 24 Councillor Arnold Batirai Dube, who is facing allegations of forging letters and distributing them within the vicinity of a polling station during the 2018 harmonised elections, has been set.

Cllr Dube pleaded not guilty to contravening section 147 (1)(d) by distributing leaflets or pamphlets in the vicinity of a polling station and an alternative charge of forgery.

Bulawayo magistrate, Tinashe Tashaya, remanded Dube to February 12 for commencement of trial.

Prosecutor George Rufumoyo told the court that Dube connived with other people who are still at large to create letters denouncing incumbent ward 24 councillor Gideon Mangena, claiming that he had been expelled from the party and he was the only standing candidate.

Dube and Mangena were both vying for the councillor’s seat in Ward 24.

Rufumoyo said Dube intended to mislead ward 24 voters by distributing letters which stated that Mangena had been expelled from the party leaving him (Dube) as the sole candidate standing for the party.

“The elections were being held at the Salvation Army church as the polling station. During the elections and within 100 meters of the polling station, Dube, in a bid to mislead ward 24 voters and his counterpart Mangena, distributed letters that falsely asserted that he was the sole candidate citing that Mangena had been expelled from the party,” he said.

“Mangena received a tip-off from some members of the public who saw Dube distributing the letters. Upon arrest, a total of 80 letters, reportedly distributed by Dube, were recovered.”

Cllr Dube, when he was taking his oath in council in 2018, caused a stir as he used the Shona dialect, much to the disapproval of some residents who had come to witness the occasion.

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