Q&A – 15 May 2023

Child DNA causes mess with girlfriend

I have been sued by my former girlfriend who claims costs for maintaining a child she claims to be mine. Since I know all facts about my ‘abilities’, I disputed the paternity of the child. The Court ordered the child’s blood sample and my blood sample to be collected and submitted to the Government Chemist Laboratory Authority (GCLA) for Human DNA identification to determine if I am the biological father of the child. The DNA result is out and it surprisingly implicates me with paternity of the child. I dispute the analyst report as I suspect it has been obtained by influence from my former girlfriend who likes my money and is highly influential. To which authority can I appeal this Human DNA report? I want a new DNA analysis to be conducted by a different analyst. Please guide me.
WD, Mtwara

We are unable to understand what you mean by ‘knowing all facts about your abilities’ that leads you to dispute the paternity of the child, and have ignored that statement in answering the question.

The Human DNA profiling test is governed by the Government Chemist Laboratory Authority Act, 2016, the Human DNA Regulation Act, 2009 and the Human DNA Regulation (General) Regulations, 2019.

A Human DNA report issued by the GCLA is assumed to be credible and admissible in evidence. Such a report is taken to be sufficient though not conclusive proof of the facts or observation stated in it. The only right conferred by section 18(3) and 19 of the GCLA Act on the person opposing the report is the right to demand that the analyst who conducted the Human DNA examination be called as a witness for him to be cross examined on the procedure he used to conduct the analysis and how he arrived at the conclusion. The Court cannot reject the Human DNA report just because the opposing party suspects the report to be false.

Under our law, the GCLA can retake samples and re-conduct a new test only where the sample taken and used in the previous test was inadequate or the procedure for sample management was not complied with or that the sample previously taken was contaminated or decomposed.

If you can prove any of the above incidences, you may appeal to the Chief Government Chemist and ask him to invoke section 36 of the Human DNA Regulations, 2009 to recollect the sample for Human DNA and re-conduct a new examination. Short of that, and as stated above, you have the right to ask the Court to order the analyst who conducted the test to appear before it as a witness for you to be able to cross examine the analyst.

If you successfully impeach the credit of the report, the Court will admit the report but will attach no weight to it when it is deciding the fact of paternity of the child. However, you have to bear in mind that under the Law of Child Act [Cap.13 R.E 2019], parentage can be proved by the evidence of the mother of the child without a DNA report if the Court is satisfied with the evidence of the mother of the child. Hence you need to move with great caution.

Simba, Yanga fans, and car alarms causing hell

In our residential area we are being disturbed by two things: sound from a car alarm, and post-match cheering from football clubs’ fans especially Simba Sports Club and Yanga Sports Club when the two teams play. Our neighbor has installed a car alarm in his reconditioned cheap car and whenever anything passes by even if it is a rat or a cat, the alarm rings and creates disturbance to the entire neighborhood. The same neighbor runs a bar close to his house and whenever Simba and Yanga play, the fans of the two football clubs meet there at the bar and when one team scores a goal you will hear the fans shouting, pounding, clapping, whistling and hooting. What can I do to stop these noises in our neighborhood?
EB, Arusha

The Environmental Management (Standards for the Control of Noise and Vibration Pollution) Regulations, 2015 controls noise and vibration pollution. It is an offence under the Regulations to cause loud, unreasonable, unnecessary or unusual noise that annoys, disturbs, injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health or safety of others. Unreasonable or loud yelling, laughing, clapping, shouting, hooting, pounding, whistling or singing constitutes noise pollution under regulation 12 (2) of the Environmental Management (Standards for Control of Noise and Vibration Pollution) Regulations, 2015. So the owner of a bar who fails to control such noise from the fans in his bar commits an offence if such noise exceeds the permissible maximum level specified in First Schedule to the Regulations.

Regarding the noise from car alarm, the maximum noise level allowed from a vehicle, be it from a car horn sound or car alarm sound is 78 dBA. A car owner who allows his car to emit sound above that level is committing an offence. In determining whether the shout from the football fans or the sound from the car alarm amounts to an offence the following factors must be considered: the time the noise is emitted, the proximity between the place where the sound comes from and the residential areas or hospital or school, level or intensity of the noise and whether it is recurrent or not.

Since your neighbour is likely committing an environmental offence, you can report the incident to the National Environmental Management Council (NEMC) or your local authority. The NEMC has the power to impose necessary sanctions including closing the bar and ordering the removal of the alarm from the car. In case of disobedience of the order of the NEMC, they can arrest the offender and charge him in a Court of law with competent jurisdiction.