Q&A – 12 July 2021
Ceiling on land occupancy
I am a citizen and intend to buy land in Tanzania. I would like know if land laws of Tanzania limit the size of land or the total number of plots a person can own under right of occupancy or customary tenure.
Section 21 of the Land Act [Cap.113 R.E 2019], the Land (Ceilings on Land Occupancy) Regulations, 2001 and regulation 75 of the Village Land Regulations, 2001 gives the Minister for Lands power to fix the ceiling on the size of land a person can hold under a single right of occupancy or derivative right or customary right of occupancy. There is no general ceiling set by the law; the ceiling for a right of occupancy may be set for individual applicants of land depending on the land use plan, location of the land, feasibility study of the intended investment, if the applicant intends to use the land for investment, and the proven ability of the applicant to develop the land.
The ceiling process starts with the local government authority whose proposal for ceiling on land occupancy is submitted to the Minister for Lands for approval. The proposal of the local government authority submitted to the minister is based on the land use plan, investment and development plans of the local government authority. In preparing the schemes of land ceiling within its areas of jurisdiction, the local government is required to assess the ability of the land applicants to develop the land and land availability within its area with the view of ensuring equitable distribution of land.
The Commissioner for Lands may also on his own motion make a general proposal to the Minister for Lands on land ceiling for a particular area in Tanzania or a proposal for ceiling on land occupancy for a particular land purpose. However, setting of ceiling cannot affect the existing right of occupancy.
The law does limit the number of plots one person may own under different right of occupancies. The minister is given power to limit the size of land a person may own under one right of occupancy or derivative right and not the amount of land he can own under different rights of occupancies.
Regarding the village land, the Minister for lands in consultation with the Minister for agriculture may, by order published in the Gazette, prescribe the maximum amount of land a person may occupy under customary right of occupancy. The village land ceiling fixed by the minister may vary from village to village, district to district or region to region. The ceiling fixed may be reviewed and adjusted accordingly.
DNA sample taking by parent
I suspect my wife had an affair with another man who impregnated her and had a child with her who is our third born. Does the law allow me to take Human DNA sample and submit it directly to the Human DNA Laboratory for analysis to establish if I am the biological father of the second born?
The law does not allow everybody to take Human DNA sample or submit a request of the sample directly to the laboratory. The Human DNA Regulation Act, 2009 limits the authority to take Human DNA sample or lodging a request to the Human DNA laboratory for analysis of the sample taken. In order to be able to collect Human DNA sample for analysis in order to establish the disputed paternity, one must possesses the qualifications of being a sampling officer. A medical officer is a sampling officer allowed to take Human DNA samples. However, before a medical officer acting as a sampling officer proceeds to collect and submit Human DNA sample to the laboratory, he must be authorised by the Court.
Where a sample is taken to establish a disputed paternity only a Court of law has the power to request Human DNA Laboratory to make analysis of the sample taken. Therefore, a person doubting the paternity of his child may petition the Court under the Law of Marriage Act for a declaratory order that he is not the biological father of the child and ask the Court to issue an order that Human DNA sample be taken from the child and submitted to the Human DNA Laboratory for analysis to establish the paternity. Further the DNA sample of a child must be taken in presence of the parents.
Division of matrimonial assets upon divorce by one wife
One of my four wives has petitioned the court for divorce and division of matrimonial assets acquired during subsistence of our marriage. All the properties she has mentioned in the petition were acquired during subsistence of my marriage with her and other three wives. I would like to know if in the division of the matrimonial properties, the Court will consider the shares of other wives as well.
Section 114(2) of the Law of Marriage Act [Cap 29 R.E 2019] that guides the Courts in the division of matrimonial assets upon divorce does not expressly provide how the Court should consider the interests of other wives when it is ordering division of assets acquired during subsistence of polygamy marriage. However, section 57 of this law gives all wives equal rights where a man has two or more lawful wives. This, in our view, means that in considering the division of matrimonial assets upon grant of divorce, the Court has to consider the interest of other wives in the properties to be distributed to the spouses upon grant of divorce because they are also considered to have contributed to the acquisition of the properties to be distributed.