Q&A – 1 April 2019

Tips, am marrying a divorce lawyer

I am intending to marry a divorce lawyer and need tips from you on what to do so I am protected. I don’t want to end up on the streets in case we get divorced. Please tell me all the tricks that I can apply. Hopefully you will not be biased towards my fiancé considering you are in the same profession.
RT, Dar

There are no special tricks that apply to lawyers or any particular group!

What persons do is get into prenuptial agreements that are very effective and assist quite a bit in the event there is a divorce or a claim after divorce.

Generally speaking a prenuptial agreement is a private agreement between a couple signed before they get married which sets forth how their assets will be divided in the event of a divorce and sometimes even upon death. Each country has its laws on such agreements.

Unfortunately, in Tanzania there is no such guidance in the law and neither have such agreements been tested in Tanzanian Courts so the validity of such agreements is not yet known. However, most countries have moved towards recognizing such agreements and they have become a good form of advance planning by couples and it is advisable to sign such a document.

Laws in English, most speak Kiswahili

Majority of Tanzanians speak Kiswahili and don’t understand English. Yet you lawyers say that ignorance of the law is no defence. You live in dreamland. Even a blind man can challenge you on this. What do you say?
UF, Mwanza

You have raised a very pertinent point that has not directly been addressed by the highest court of the land but you make a lot of sense in your approach. Without you giving further details on this, for example has there been an incident or the like, we are not able to specifically answer you.

The Interpretation of Laws Act states the following in section 84:(1) The language of the laws of Tanzania shall be English or Kiswahili or both. (2) Where any written law is translated from one language into another and published in both languages, then in the case of conflict or doubt as to the meaning of any word or expression, the version of the language in which the law was enacted shall take precedence. (3) Where any written law is enacted in both languages and there occurs a conflict or doubt as to the meaning of any word or expression, the English version shall take precedence.

Hence our laws can be drafted in both English and Kiswahili, although most laws are indeed drafted in English. This is something you can take up with the Ministry of Justice and the Law Reform Commission of Tanzania as for the masses to read and understand the law, they either must be drafted in Kiswahili or both English and Kiswahili.

Audit by shareholder of a company

I own a quarter of the shares in a company and am not sure if the company is undergoing proper audits. As a shareholder can I demand an audit to be performed on the company?
TY, Dar

The Company must appoint an auditor in its annual general meeting. If you are not satisfied with your auditor, you can invoke section 171 of the Companies Act and demand an audit. Section 173 states that (l) Any member or members holding not less in the aggregate than 10 per cent in nominal value of the issued share capital or any class of it of a private company qualifying as exempt under section 171 or, if such company does not have a share capital, not less than 10 per cent in number of the members of that company, may, by notice in writing deposited at the registered office of the company during an accounting period but not later than one month before the end of that accounting period, require the company to obtain an audit of its accounts for that accounting period. (2) Where a notice has been deposited under subsection (1), the company shall be obliged to appoint an auditor in respect of the accounting period to which the notice relates.

Hence you can proceed to conduct a parallel audit. Another solution is to ensure you change your auditor in the next annual general meeting. In any case normal business practice requires you to change your auditor every few years. Your lawyers can guide you further.

Different type of waste

I have moved to Tanzania and find it hard to believe that you still do not have policies to ensure that households mandatorily separate waste and dump them into garbage trucks according to the type of waste. Collecting all kinds of waste as general waste is very harmful to the environment as the recycling is inexistent. How can this be fixed?
HY, Dar

The Environmental Management Act of 2004 has a specific provision that deals with this. Section 114(1) states that for the purposes of ensuring minimization of the solid waste in their respective areas of jurisdiction, local government authorities shall prescribe: (a) for different types or kinds of waste or refuse or garbage to be separated at the source; (b) for standards to guide the type, size, shape, colour and other specifications for refuse containers used; and (c) for mechanisms to be put in place to involve the private sector and Non-Governmental organisations on planning, raising awareness among producers, vendors, transporters, manufacturers and others on the need to have appropriate containers and enhance separation of waste at source.

Unfortunately to the best of our research the local authorities in Dar es Salaam have not prescribed on how the waste is to be separated at source. The Act provides for the local authorities to mandatorily provide for this but to the best of our knowledge they have not done so.

You can directly right to your local authority and inquire. If they fail to respond, or respond in the negative, you can file the matter in Court for the Court to direct the local authority to act in compliance with the law.