Q&A – 19 June 2023

Detained in police station for traffic offence

I was stopped by police officers who shockingly did an alcohol test on me. The results were positive and I got arrested and spent the night in police custody. Can they arrest me for this offence? Could they just not have fined me and let me go? Is this legal?
TT, Dar

The Road Traffic Act states that any person required to provide a specimen of blood for a laboratory test pursuant to the provisions of this Act may thereafter be detained at a police station until it appears to a police officer that the proportion of alcohol in the person’s blood does not exceed the prescribed limit. For the purposes of this Act, the expression ‘prescribed limit’ means 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood.

You can see that your arrest was legal to protect you. There is nothing shocking about alcohol tests- they are now quite common in most countries including Tanzania.

License for selling dogs

I am very passionate about animal keeping, especially dogs. For many years I have seen young men selling puppies along the roads in some parts of Dar es Salaam and Arusha. I love companion animals and it upsets me to see puppies mistreated by exposing them in the sun and without feeding them properly. In other countries, companion animals are sold only by licensed individuals or entities. Is it not the case in Tanzania?
CT, Dar 

The Animals Welfare Act, 2008 (the Act) prohibits selling of companion animals by unlicensed individuals or entities. The Act defines a companion animal to be an animal that, based on its loyalty or playful or beautiful appearance or songs characteristics, is kept by humans for companionship and enjoyment rather than for economic reasons.

Section 21 of the Act requires a seller or dealer of companion animals to be licensed and regulated by a competent authority. It further states that licensed dealers are permitted to purchase companion animals from licensed breeders and to sell the animals only in authorized places. Moreover, by that provision of the Act, the seller is required to avail a full history of the animal, details of the former owner or owners and breeder’s details. Thus, the young men you have been seeing selling dogs along the roads are violating the provisions of the Act.

Forfeiting onerous bequests

My father was a Christian who died testate after he bequeathed me two houses. One of those houses is encumbered as he died before liquidating a loan he had taken from one of the commercial banks. He stated in the Will that the legatees of encumbered legacies should fulfill the respective obligations in case he dies before fulfilling them. I don’t want to get into hassles with the bank. Can I opt to get the unencumbered house and forfeit the onerous one?
AC, Dodoma

Your bequest of two houses is conditional. Conditional bequest is a term added to a gift before the recipient can collect the gift. Conditional bequests usually appear in Wills and trusts for people wanting to place requirements on inheritances. These conditions can be almost anything imaginable as long as they do not violate public policy.

Section 109 of the Indian Succession Act, a law which governs inheritances of Christians, states that where a bequest imposes obligations on the legatee, he can take nothing by it unless he accepts it fully. Thus, based on that provision, you cannot choose to take the unencumbered house and leave the encumbered one. Since you want to avoid the hassles with banks, you should also forfeit the full bequest, meaning both houses, and not otherwise. Your father’s condition in a Will does not violate any public policy, hence it is implementable.

Casual labourers claim paid leave

We have a company that deals in purchase and export of agricultural produce. During the harvest season, which lasts for four months every year, we recruit casual labourers to pack the agricultural produce in sacks and load the sacks in trucks ready for transport to the export ports. In the recruitment process we prefer casual labourers who have worked for us in the past because they have training in doing the job. A few of our casual labourers who have worked for us in the past two harvest seasons have lodged an application for paid annual leave claiming that since they have worked for us for a total of eight months over two harvest seasons, they are entitled to paid annual leave. Are these casual labourers right in raising such a claim.
ML, Shinyanga

As a general rule set out under section 29(1) of the Employment and Labour Relations Act [Cap.366 R.E 2019], an employee who works for the employer for less than 6 months in a year is not entitled to a paid annual leave. A casual labourer is entitled to a paid annual leave only if he or she works for the same employer for a total period exceeding 6 months in a year. Since your casual labourers worked only for 4 months in a year, they are not entitled to a paid leave. The 6 months benchmark which is used to determine the right to a paid annual leave is not the aggregate of the period the employee has worked for the same employer over a period of 2 years; it is an aggregate of the period the employee has worked for the employer for a particular year.

Had you recruited casual labourers twice a year and they worked for an aggregate of a period exceeding 6 months during that year, the claim of your casual labourer would have been valid based on section 29(2) of the Employment and Labour Relations Act.