By NQOBANI NDLOVU
BULAWAYO MDC councillor Arnold Batirai Dube was found guilty of distributing fliers at a polling station during the 2018 general elections in violation of the Electoral Act.
Dube also faced a charge of forging the signature of MDC local government secretary Sesel Zvidzai to present himself as the party’s sole candidate at the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s (ZEC’s) nomination court.
His case has been dragging since 2018 after suffering several false starts.
He appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Tinashe Tashaya on Thursday, who found him guilty of the charges. Dube had pleaded not guilty to the charges.
In his ruling Tashaya said evidence presented by State witnesses was overwhelming hence retained a verdict of guilty as charged. The matter was postponed to December 21 for sentencing.
The court heard that Dube intended to mislead ward 24 voters by distributing letters which stated that the incumbent councillor Gedion Mangena had been expelled from the party leaving him as the sole candidate standing for the party.
He faced charges of violating Section 188 (a) (b) as read with Section 137(1)(a) of the criminal Codification and Reform Act Chapter 9:23 Conspiracy to commit a crime of forgery or alternatively Section 136(a)(b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform Act) Chapter 9:23 “Fraud”.
The second charge relates to his arrest after he was reported to the police by members of the public who had allegedly seen him distributing fliers near a Salvation Army church polling station situated at Nkulumane suburb of a polling station in violation of Section 147(1) (d) of the Electoral Act Chapter 2:13.
“…He unlawfully distributed letters which falsely asserted that he was the sole candidate for the MDC Alliance and that there was no one allowed to use the MDC Alliance logo as MDC Candidate and further lied that Mangena was expelled from the party,” the State alleged.
The offence was discovered by alert members of the public who went on to inform ZEC and ZRP.
Investigations led to the arrest of the accused person as well as the recovery of 80 pamphlets which the accused person had distributed.