Q&A – 13 February 2017

Double divorce

My husband is intending to divorce me and has convinced my dad that he should also divorce my mum. So both my mum and I are about to get divorced thanks to my husband. Is there no law that prevents such a double divorce? Can they file for divorce together? Is it legal for my husband to have counselled my father in this direction?
YU, Dar

We are sorry to hear these facts. Divorce is a very painful experience and we can imagine what you are going through. It is also quite awkward that both you and your mum are being divorced more or less at the same time. We have not found any statute that makes it illegal to divorce provided there are grounds of divorce. Your husband and dad cannot file a joint divorce petition- each must stand on its own merit and be decided based on the facts presented there.

As for counselling your dad to divorce your mum, your dad is old enough to not be induced towards this. Again, we are not sure what offence your husband is committing unless we know more details but it looks like both men are not happy with their spouses.

Plea bargaining in Tanzania

I am informed that Tanzania has recently introduced plea bargaining in its laws. If so can you guide me to the correct statute?
GG, Moshi

Please bargaining is a process whereby a criminal defendant and public prosecutor reach a mutually satisfactory disposition of a criminal case. This may be subject to a Court approval. Therefore plea bargaining can conclude a criminal case without a trial and lead to expeditious disposal of many criminal matters. Sentencing can be converted to a fine, or a reduced custodial order subject to agreement. Unfortunately at present in Tanzania plea bargaining has no recognition under the law. We are informed that the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA) is to be soon amended to allow for such bargaining. Even the draft Plea Bargaining Rules, 2015 are in the making but will not have any force until parliament amends the CPA. We are not sure when the CPA will be amended.

Wearing military uniform

Many a times when we are travelling the highways you see personal wearing army or police uniforms but they are actually highway robbers. What are the consequences of wearing such a uniform? What about the fake seals we see of government departments especially on local purchase orders to cheat traders to supply goods. How serious are these offences?
TY, Morogoro

Section 6 of the National Security Act covers both these and states that (1) Any person who, for the purpose of gaining or assisting any other person to gain admission to a protected place or for any other purpose prejudicial to the safety or interests of the United Republic– (a) without lawful authority uses or wears any uniform of the Defence Forces or of the Police Force or any other official uniform of the United Republic or any uniform so closely resembling the same as to be likely to deceive, or falsely represents himself to be a person who is or has been entitled to wear or use any such uniform; or (f) any person who without lawful authority uses or has in his possession or under his control any die, seal or stamp of or belonging to or used, made or provided by any Government department, a specified authority or any diplomatic, naval, army or air force authority appointed by or acting under the authority of the Government, or any die, seal or stamp so closely resembling any such die, seal or stamp as aforesaid as to be likely to deceive, or counterfeits any such die, seal or stamp or uses or has in his possession or under his control any such counterfeit die, seal or stamp, commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding twenty years.

The above answers both your questions. Anyone found wearing an army or police uniform, or with a seal of any government department can be sentenced to upto 20 years in prison.

Marriage agreed many years ago

Many years ago my parents and the parents of the girl next door agreed that we would get married after we turn 18. The girl now says that she wants to complete her university before she thinks about marriage. I am afraid that with all the guys she will meet at university, I will die a bachelor and miss the love of my life. How can you help me secure my position? I also wish to agree with her at the outset on the number of children we will have? What form of agreement should I sign with her?
IM, Dar

You have not stated in your question whether or not the girl is reciprocating the same love you have for her. Further, the two parents’ agreement that you will get married sometime in the future has no force of law as the contracting parties under the law of marriage act of Tanzania are you and the girl, and the parents cannot decide who you will get married to. This is also not a contract of sale of goods that you can “secure” your position. There is no legal way to secure your position other than to try and impress upon the girl that you are the man she would want to live with for the rest of her life. Otherwise you are right, she might just get married to someone she meets whilst at university.

As for the children, even if she signs an agreement that she agrees to have a certain number of children with you, she is not bound by that agreement. She can change her mind and you will not be able to do anything about that. No Court will issue an order to the girl to start bearing children under the agreement. You might want to think of marriage as a social bond between parties that love one another and not a commodity contract. Your current way of thinking about women is, to say the least, a turn off for the girl and without sounding like marriage counsellors, we believe you might want to get some counselling.