Q&A – 19 February 2024

Sexual relationship at workplace

I am a junior level public servant and have a girlfriend who is senior to me with whom I have a child. I have recently been served with a show cause notice to explain why disciplinary action should not be taken against me for having sexual relationship with a fellow employee at a workplace. This show cause has only been served on me and not my girlfriend and I am wondering why. May I know if it is wrong to have a consensual sexual relationship with a fellow employee at the workplace especially where the girlfriend is senior to the boyfriend? If it is wrong, is it only men who are prohibited from having sexual relationships with female employees at the workplace? Please guide
KG, Shinyanga

For public servants, having sexual relationships at a workplace is prohibited by the Code of Ethics and Conduct for the Public Service in Tanzania. Paragraph 6 of the Code requires public servants to refrain from having sexual relationships at a workplace. Likewise the employees are prohibited by the Code to avoid all type of conducts which may constitute sexual harassment. The Code describes conducts which are treated as sexual harassment to include putting pressure on a fellow employee for sexual favour or sexual activity; unwelcome touching, pinching, patting, grabbing and brushing against another employee’s body, hair or clothes. Other conducts that are prohibited at the workplace are sexual innuendos, gestures, noises, jokes, comments or remarks about fellow employee’s sexuality or body.

Prohibition of sexual relationships at the workplace is for both genders regardless of the seniority of the sexual partners. Not serving your girlfriend with a show cause letter may connote double standards in enforcing the Code but that is not a defence which can exonerate you from liability. Just for your information, unwelcome sexual advances, be it words or action, if done by a person in authority, is not only a disciplinary offence but also a criminal offence of sexual harassment under section 138D of the Penal Code even if the person in authority who makes the unwelcome sexual advances is a woman.

For the those in position or authority, in case it is proved that she/he has taken advantage of her/his position or authority to demand sexual relationship with a fellow employee or a job seeker as a condition for getting a job, promotion, right, privilege or preferential treatment, she/he will be committing a corruption offence in terms of section 25 of the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Act and can be prosecuted for that offence.

Doing business in bus

I always travel by public commercial buses and get disturbed by small scale traders who jump into the buses in the course of the journey and start selling or promoting their products. Moreover and even worse some of the products they sell are counterfeit. Is doing business in the buses allowed as part of the policy of creating jobs? How can doing business in the buses be controlled by the law to protect consumers against counterfeit goods?
DG, Morogoro

Government Notice No.81 of 2020 prohibits doing business or preaching or conducting political activity inside the buses. It is the duty of the bus crew and the driver to ensure nobody is doing business in the bus. There is a law in place prohibiting doing business in the bus but there might be laxity in the enforcement of the law. We believe doing business in the buses is not one of the policies of the Government of creating job opportunities for the youths. Bus drivers and crew who fail to prevent doing business in the bus commit an offence and are liable to imprisonment to pay a fine not less than TZS 50,000 but not exceeding TZS 100,000 or imprisonment for a term not less than 1 month but not exceeding 1 year or to both imprisonment and fine.

Taking new evidence on appeal

I entered into a contract for the purchase of spare parts with one of my long-standing suppliers. I paid the supplier by bank transfer and have a receipt acknowledging the payment. The supplier alleged that I have not cleared my dues to him and sued me. In the course of hearing, I did not tender the electronic fund transfer form to prove the electronic transfer of fund. I lost the case in the Court of first instance and now want to appeal. Can the appellate Court accept the fund transfer form as new evidence at this stage?
CV, Mtwara

For the Court to receive fresh evidence at appellate stage, there are normally 3 conditions which must be satisfied. These conditions are the evidence sought to be admitted at the appeal level could not be obtained with reasonable diligence for use at trial. Secondly, the evidence is such that if given, it would probably have an important impact on the outcome of the case and finally that the evidence must be apparently credible, though not necessarily incontrovertible.

It is not clear why you were unable to produce the fund transfer form at trial. In order to satisfy the first criteria you must be able to prove that despite carrying out all reasonable diligence you could not obtain the fund transfer form. We do not think that proving the first condition will be easy but it is not impossible as you are privy to the facts on why the evidence wasn’t produced. The onus lies on you to prove the excuse for failure to produce the evidence at the trial Court. From what you have stated above, we believe you might be able to satisfy the second and third conditions. However, all three conditions must be met in order for the new evidence to be taken at the appeal level.