Q&A – 13 July 2015

Don’t like passport photo

I was lawfully issued with a passport five years back. However I feel that the photo used in the passport is not pleasing at all as I am a lot prettier now than before. Can I apply for the passport to be reissued again? Please help me.
MM, Dar

Issuance, control, cancellation of passports and travel documents as well as other incidental matters thereof are governed by the Tanzania passports and Travel Documents Act. The aforesaid law provides for why, when and how one can re-apply for a new passport. On the other hand, the Act caters for provisions on replacement of passport.

Coming back to your question, we are convinced that the mere fact that you have become prettier does is not a sufficient ground to persuade the Director of Immigration Services to issue a new passport to you. Among the covered instances under the said Act where a new passport can be issued includes when the passport has expired or where the passport cannot be renewed further. Moreso where a passport is full or damaged in such a way that it requires to be replaced, the holder of such passport may apply for a new passport.

At this stage it is very difficult for you to disown your passport photo. We recommend you contact the immigration department who can guide you further.

Strong perfume at workplace

I understand that it is now unlawful to smoke in public but there is another forgotten ill behavior of people using strong scent perfumes in public places. For instance in our work place some of my colleagues are used to apply strong perfumes with a choking smell. As an administrator I have been sending these employees home. This is because the perfumes are causing nausea and make other employees sneeze. Some of these employees are saying my actions contravene labour laws and discriminatory. Is this correct? Is there a law to prevent such scents at the work place? If not, can this law be enacted? Please guide.
TR, Arusha

Provisions of the Tanzania labour laws mandates the employer to control work relations for the purpose of harmonizing the workplace relations. The labour laws do not allow employers to discriminate employees instead to require employers to promote equality of opportunity and treatment in employment. Taking affirmative action measures to ensure interest of employees are harmonized is not discrimination. Imagine how chaotic and unfriendly the workplace would be if every employee starts to suffer headache, nausea only because of co-worker’s perfume. We think the problem like this can be well managed by the employer through counselling the employees on the problems caused to fellow employees.

We are unaware of any further specific law which prohibits use of perfumes in Tanzania. As for enactment of the law, we think you can take this up with the responsible minister and/or your member of parliament and if at all viable, legislative process may be initiated. However, the government has other priorities and enacting a law on how to use perfumes is surely not one of them.

Court very slow in recording evidence

I am a party in a case pending at the Resident Magistrates’ Court. Our case involves long testimony and many documentary evidence which are very technical. I am shocked by the speed which the case is taking. The magistrate is writing what we are saying and this consumes a lot of time. Is there a possibility that some of the testimony can be written and the documents filed in Court to avoid wastage of time? Can’t the magistrate use recorders instead of writing each and every sentence which delays the case and makes everyone tired.
Please guide on what we can do to expedite this.

The law governing conduct of civil suits, the Civil Procedure Code, requires that evidence of each witness be taken down in writing, in the language of the Court by or in the presence and under the personal direction and superintendence of the judge or magistrate. Writing should not ordinarily be in the form of question and answers, but in that of a narrative and the judge or magistrate shall sign the same. Moreover, the law further gives power to the judge or magistrate in exercise of his/her discretion to direct a Court stenographer to make a shorthand record of the whole, or any part of, the substance of, the evidence of any witness or the proceedings. However a point worth noting is that the said shorthand record shall as soon as practicable be transcribed and typewritten by the same or any other Court stenographer who shall certify that resultant typewritten transcript to be correct and complete.

The avenue for each witness to get his/her testimony written down and file in Court is only applicable in the High Court of Tanzania (Commercial Division) where under the Commercial Court Rules witnesses’ statements are allowed.

Unfortunately with the computer era, there at present very few stenographers left in Courts and the stenographer route that is suggested above is not practical. Our Courts are not equipped to allow voice recordings so that judges and magistrates might be relieved with writing each and every word witnesses speak. Thus there is no choice but to hand write every word that is said in Court which is what is delaying your case.

You can propose electronic notes or electronic devices to be used in Courts by addressing a letter to the Chief Justice who may be able to look into this. You are not the only affected party and introducing recording devices in Courts is a costly affair.