Q&A – 12 February 2024

Acquisition of land by foreigner upon divorce

I am a foreign national married to a Tanzanian but residing out of Tanzania with my husband. We have houses and farms that my husband and I have jointly acquired in Tanzania. The properties are registered in the name of my husband alone because we were advised that I being a foreigner cannot own land in Tanzania, be it alone or jointly with my Tanzanian husband. Our marriage has now irreparably broken down and I have been issued with a divorce decree by a foreign Court. The divorce decree contains an order for division of the houses and farms we jointly acquired in Tanzania during the subsistence of our marriage. I intend to file this decree in a Tanzanian Court for recognition and enforcement and would like to know if a Court in Tanzania will recognise and enforce a decree from a foreign court which contains an order for division of jointly acquired houses and farms to a spouse who is a foreigner.
EM, Europe

The Law of Marriage Act, [Cap. 29 R.E. 2019] provides for the division of matrimonial properties in the event of a divorce. It also recognises the joint efforts put in by spouses in acquiring and developing properties during their marriage by ensuring fair distribution of matrimonial properties in event of divorce.

However, it is section 20 of the Land Act [Cap. 113 R.E. 2019] which explicitly prohibits allocation of right of occupancies to foreigners unless the land is allocated for investment purposes under the Tanzania Investment Act. However, in our view the Land Act only prohibits the allocation of the right of occupancy to a foreigner by land authorities. We don’t think section 20 bars division of jointly acquired house or farm to a foreign spouse.  In that regard, acquisition of land by a foreigner through a Court decree dividing the jointly acquired properties to her or him upon divorce is in our opinion (and to our best knowledge not tested) an exception to the general rule that a foreigner cannot acquire land in Tanzania other than for investment purposes.

To assist you further, section 114 of the Law of Marriage Act, states that in the division of matrimonial properties, the Court has the power to sell a property and divide the proceeds of sale between the divorcing parties. In case the Registrar of Titles is adamant to register the houses or farms divided to you in your name on the basis of the provisions of section 20, the Court can invoke section 114 of the Law of Marriage Act to order sale of those farms and house and give the proceeds to you.

We recommend you proceed with the registration of the foreign divorce decree in the High Court of Tanzania for recognition and enforcement because such decree does not contravene the policy or laws of Tanzania. Your lawyers can guide you further.

Compensation for workplace accidents

I work for an institution in Tanzania and following a workplace accident, was left disabled. I am currently recovering in hospital. My employer registered me with the Workers Compensation Fund (WCF) but also has a personal life insurance policy covering accidents. Since I am legally entitled to benefits given under the WCF and my personal life insurance, I was wondering if I could claim compensation from both the WCF and my personal life insurer provided simultaneously.
JJ, Arusha

We are sorry to hear about your accident. The legal implications surrounding your situation are twofold. One, since you are covered by the WCF, you are entitled to receive benefits provided by the Fund. Section 19 of the Worker’s Compensation Act provides that where an employee has an accident resulting in the employee’s disability or death, the employee or the dependents of the employee shall, subject to the provisions of this Act, be entitled to compensation. This law guarantees assistance in the form of financial support for disablement regardless of whether the employee has a personal insurance policy or not.

On the other hand, you also have an insurance policy independent of your employment. We assume that this insurance policy offers supplemental coverage and includes accidents outside the workplace. In theory, you could seek additional compensation from the insurance provider subject to the terms and conditions in this insurance policy. However, insurance laws and policies have certain limitations preventing individuals from claiming compensation from multiple insurance policies. Usually, insurance contracts include detailed clauses regarding overlapping coverages. It is therefore important you carefully review the terms and conditions of the insurance policy before you consider submitting a claim with your insurance provider.

Daily employment agreement

We are a construction company with a large operation in Tanzania. Our operations are expanding rapidly leading to an increase in the workload and the need for additional manpower. In a bid to meet these demands, the company plans to hire day workers temporarily to assist with various tasks. However, the management is unsure whether the daily employment contract is lawful under Tanzanian labour laws. We seek your guidance.
FS, Mwanza

According to section 14 of the Employment and Labour Relations Act [Cap. 366 R.E. 2019], only managers and professionals can sign a contract for a specified period with the employer. In view of regulation 11 of the Employment and Labour Relations (General) Regulations, 2017, duration of such contract for unspecified term should not be less than 12 months. However, if the work for which the employees are intended to be recruited is a short term project, the employer can sign with such employees a contract for a specific task. There is nothing like a daily employment agreement under the employment and labour laws of Tanzania but payment can be made daily. In a contract for a specific task the employer and the employee can agree on the modality of payment that the employee will be paid daily. However, you need to bear in mind that an employee working on a contract for a specific task, is entitled to all the employment rights.