Q&A – 18 September 2023

Stepmother wants to marry me

After my mum died, my father married a young lady who was my classmate. The marriage of my father and my step mother persisted for eight years and it was blessed with two children. My father died six months ago and I am now getting all the signs from my stepmother and former classmate that she needs me to be close to her. She has recently decided to break the ice by facing me and disclosing openly that she wants to marry me. She is very beautiful and we have also dated during our school days. Please advise me on the possibility of effecting that marriage. In case it succeeds, will the two siblings call me their step father?
MW, Tarime

You haven’t informed us on your current marital status. In case you are married and that persisting marriage was celebrated in a Christian form, you have two impediments before the marriage of your step mother and former girlfriend. Firstly, the law bars a marriage between two Christians which was celebrated in a church in Christian form, for so long as both the parties continue to profess the Christian faith, to be converted from monogamous to polygamous. A Christian marriage is presumed to be monogamous, and unless your existing wife, if you’re married, consents this contemplated marriage, you are prohibited to contract another marriage.

Secondly, the law prohibits marital relationships with close relatives. Unfortunately, your stepmother is among the close relatives recognized by our laws. The law clearly prohibits a person to marry his or her grandparent, parent, child or grandchild, sister or brother, great-aunt or great-uncle, aunt or uncle, niece or nephew, as the case may be. The law further prohibits a person to marry the grandparent or parent, child or grandchild of his or her spouse or former spouse. Prohibited for marriage, also, are the former spouse of one’s grandparent or parent and one’s child or grandchild. Moreover, a person is also prohibited to marry a person whom he or she has adopted or by whom he or she was adopted.

Thus, although you love each other, you are prohibited to marry a former spouse of your father and, likewise, she is prohibited to marry a child of her former husband. That said, there is no possibility of your two siblings calling you their step-father.

Suing a cigarette company

My daughter, at sixteen years now, is vibrant and a celebrity. She has been an ambassador of different products and brands since when she turned fourteen years and she features in different televisions and outdoor billboard adverts. Recently, a reputable cigarette company started a process of engaging her for a two-year contract as an ambassador of their brand. I went through all the errands on her behalf but at the end when we were about to sign the contract, they halted it for a reason that she is still a minor. Is the cigarette company justified to stop signing the contract on the pretext of the age of my daughter?
AR, Dar

The company is justified to halt the signing of the contract. The law bars any direct or indirect sponsorship that is associated in any manner with the promotion of a tobacco product, a brand of tobacco product or a manufacture of tobacco products in relation to persons below the age of 18. Moreover, it is also the law that no person below the age of 18 is authorized to bear tobacco product advertisements, logos or brand names in any sports or any sponsored events or activities. We believe the cigarette company did the right thing and you will not succeed in suing them. However, your attorney can guide you further.

Refusal of creditor to accept money

A few years back I borrowed money from a friend of mine, payable with interest six months down the line. When the payment date came, I went to him but he refused to take the money for unclear reasons. At first, it seemed like a friendly gesture, but then it did not seem to be so. I continued to pursue him to take his money as it was payable under the agreement, but he did not accept the funds. He then travelled, and has recently returned. He has now filed a suit against me in Court claiming the principal sum, interest, penal interest and mesne profit for loss of gainful use of the money due to the delay and/or failure to pay him, which is untrue. The interest claimed under the suit is three times the principal. Upon investigation, I have found out that it was his strategy not to accept the payment from me, so that he can claim additional interest. How do I go about this matter? The money was always there for him to receive, but he refused. Is there a need for me to pay now.
BO, Mwanza

This is the first time we are hearing that a creditor refuses to receive sums under a loan agreement especially if the sums being paid back include the interest. We answer this question on the basis that you are not hiding any material facts from us.

Generally, refusal by the creditor to receive money does not discharge the debtor from the obligation to pay the debt. This is because the debt is not extinguished by the mere refusal. It is the debtor’s duty to look for the creditor and pay back the debt, which seems to be what you did. If the creditor will not take payment when tendered, the debtor must nevertheless continue to be ready and willing to pay the debt.

Your defence should encompass all that you have said above, including the fact that you have always been ready to pay the debt save for the creditor not accepting it. During the trial, you will have to adduce evidence to that effect.

As for the need of paying now, it is unlikely that he will receive the funds now. If you are hinting to us that with the suit the debt is extinguished, please be informed that, that is not the case. You must still be prepared to pay the original sum, including the interest that was due at the original time. Should you be successful, you will be required to make the payments as per the original plan. You may also be entitled to costs of suit.
We also suggest that you once again recheck your facts. We find some of them very hard to believe.