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Q&A – 5 June 2017

Maximum 5 years for work permit

I work as a chief chef for a hotel and have been in Tanzania for about 12 months now. I have another 1 year left on my work permit. How many times can I renew my permit? Please guide.
TT, Moshi

The Non Citizens (Employment Regulation) Act 2014 provides in section 12(4) that unless earlier cancelled, a work permit shall be valid for a period of twenty four months from the date of issue and may, subject to the provisions of this Act, be renewed provided that the total period of validity of the first grant and its renewals shall not, in any case, exceed five years. (5) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (4), the total period of validity of a work permit, of an investor whose contribution to the economy or the wellbeing of Tanzanians through investment is of great value, may exceed ten years.

You will note that the maximum for normal businesses, which we believe you fall under, is maximum of 5 years. Your permit, if renewed, hence, can only be renewed for another two years and a final one year, totalling 5 years. The government has embarked to promote localisation of various positions to ensure that unemployment is reduced and skill sets are developed locally in Tanzania. Having said that, there are businesses that require specialised and experienced personal and for such cases, the law provides a period of work permit for even more than 10 years.

Negligent operation by surgeon

I was taken on an emergency basis to a hospital in Musoma where the only doctor available to operate on me was a general surgeon and not an obstetrician. My pregnancy was overdue and there was no choice but to take me to theatre. There were also no other specialists available and the general surgeon was forced to operate on me. During the operation, my child was permanently injured as the surgeon did not have the requisite tools or experience. My lawyers tell me that apart from suing him for damages, I can lodge a criminal complaint as provided for under the Penal Code. Is that possible? I want surgeons to learn how to be responsible.
YY, Musoma

It is true that the Penal Code provides for a specific section on such an eventuality, but in support of the surgeon. It states that a person is not criminally responsible for performing in- good faith and with reasonable care and skill a surgical operation benefit, or upon an unborn child for the preservation of the mother’s life, if the performance of the operation is reasonable, having regard to the patient’s state at the time, and to all the circumstances of the case.

Since there was no other choice, and he was the only surgeon available, assuming that he used reasonable care and skill, he will likely not be criminally liable. However, it all depends on the facts of the case which your lawyer can guide you on.

Bodaboda now an English word, I want ‘kiboko’ to be included

I have recently learnt that bodaboda is one of the 1000 words that the Oxford dictionary has agreed to include in this years new english words that they have released. I want our very own word, kiboko, to be included. How can you help me?
IO, Dar

This is not a legal question but it interested us and we embarked on researching this online. Various dictionary publishers state that they are never tired of being reminded of useage of new words since ‘our language is growing.’ Not content with the million or so words these dictionaries already have at their disposal, English speakers are adding new ones at the rate of around 1,000 a year. Recent dictionary debutants include blog, grok, crowdfunding, hackathon, airball, e-marketing, sudoku, twerk and even Brexit.

But these represent just a sliver of the tip of the iceberg. According to Global Language Monitor, around 5,400 new words are created every year; it’s only the 1,000 or so deemed to be in sufficiently widespread use that make it into print. Oxford university dictionary states that ‘before adding a word to one of our dictionaries we have to see evidence that it is widely used in print or online. We tailor entries to suit the needs of the user: a dictionary for children at primary school level, for example, will contain words and definitions appropriate to that age group.’

If you think the word kiboko is widely used including beyond Tanzania, then it may be accepted. You need to write to the dictionaries and explain to them why you think it should be included. There is a lot of information online on how you may suggest. We wish you all the best.

Poor customer care by mobile company

I am a subscriber to a mobile company in Tanzania whose customer care system is very poor. I have to call customer care repeatedly and am put on hold for ages. Sometimes it takes ten calls to get through- the standard message is “all our customer representatives are presently busy, stay online and you will be attended by the next available representative.” It takes sometimes upto 30 minutes before I get attended to. In between the call, the customer care rep also hangs up and I start all over again. Do I have any rights and how do I defend myself against this mobile company. They are bullying me.
TK, Mwanza

Your bullying can be intervened by the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority which is the institution responsible for managing all mobile companies in Tanzania. The Electronic and Postal Communications (Quality of Service) Regulations, 2011 provide that, the average waiting time before a customer is attended by a call centre operator should be less than five minutes. Hence you may lodge a complaint to the mobile company explicitly stating your complaint and the mobile company is required to reply to your complaint within 21 days from the receipt of the complaint. If you are unsatisfied with their reply, you may proceed to lodge the complaint to TCRA.

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