Q&A – 2 September 2013

My airspace being used by airline

I own a big piece of land near that airport and there is this particular airline that always flies above my land when entering Dar es Salaam. I believe this is tantamount to trespass on my land and I need to be compensated for this. How do I go about charging the airline for my airspace it is taking up so frequently?
ET, Dar

If all airlines were forced to pay what you are demanding, they would be spending more time sorting out invoices of individuals like yourself than running an airline business. Further, it would make air travel uneconomical.
Coming back to you question, the answer is simply no- you cannot claim anything from the airline as the airspace above your land, which is currently unused and that which you will not use, does not belong to you. There is no trespass by the airline. Your lawyers can guide you further.

Driving on pedestrian walk

I was driving my car on the pedestrian walk with two cars ahead of me. The traffic police selectively chose to stop me and not the other drivers ahead of me and I had to pay a fine. How do I address this unfairness? I also see many trucks getting stuck in the middle of the road- is there a law that forces owners to come to the rescue of other road users as most traffic congestions are due to such vehicles getting stuck in the middle of the road.
WK, Dar

Driving on the pedestrian walk is an offence under our traffic laws. The fact that you were the only one stopped and not others will not change the fact that you drove on a pedestrian walk and this does not mitigate the gravity of the offence. You can however report this “unfairness” of being the only one stopped to the head of traffic police.

As for trucks getting stuck in the middle of the road, the Road Traffic Act clearly states in section 85 that It shall be the duty of the owner and of the driver or of any other person in control or in charge of a broken-down vehicle or trailer on any road to remove or take all reasonable steps to secure the removal of such vehicle or trailer as soon as practicable from any such road. Subsection to further states that a police officer, if he is of the opinion- (a) that the owner or driver or other person in control or in charge of a broken-down vehicle on any road has failed to take any necessary steps to remove the vehicle or to cause it to be removed in accordance with the provisions of subsection (1) of this section; or (b) that the vehicle constitutes a danger to traffic, may forthwith remove the vehicle or use the services of any other person or persons to remove the vehicle in such manner and to such place as he may think fit, and for this purpose may provide and use any plant or apparatus and take all other steps which he may consider necessary.

Hence it is the owner’s duty to remove the vehicle and if he fails to do so, a police officer has powers to do so at the expense of the owner.

Title in name of brother

I own a piece of land upcountry which is very lucrative. However I bought it in the name of my brother for reasons that he would take care of it. He knows that it is my plot but I am unsure if the law recognizes this? I have mentioned this plot in my Will as well with my wife mentioned as the beneficiary of this plot. Please guide.
PG, Dar

If the plot is in the name of your brother, then in the absence of any other signed agreements, the plot belongs to him. What you should consider doing is enter into an agreement that clearly states what you have stated in your question above. You should also consider getting a specific power of attorney from your brother, that must be registered, that allows you to act on his behalf in any manner whatsoever whensoever. You can also get him to sign on transfer documents in case you want to transfer the said plot.

You say that you have mentioned the plot under your Will. In the absence of any formal documents showing that you are the ultimate owner of the plot, the Will will not come to your beneficiaries rescue in the event that your brother claims the plot.

Your attorneys can guide you further.

Accidentally setting fire to neighbor’s crops

Few years ago, I was cultivating my shamba in our village and had to burn some of the crops ready for the next season. The fire became huge, went uncontrolled and accidentally crossed to my neighbour’s shamba causing loss of his unharvested crops. I was charged with setting fire to crops and the matter is still pending in court. What are my chances of being acquitted? Please advice.
BK, Rukwa

Assuming your facts are correct, you set fire for the purpose of burning your residual crops exclusively for your shamba. The fire accidentally crossed to your neighbour. The penal code provides two coexisting conditions for a person to be convicted for setting fire to crops. The act of setting fire should be done willfully and unlawfully. In your case, you set fire in your shamba willfully and lawfully however the fire crossing to your neighbour was accidentally and as such it was not willful. In absence of any other evidence to the contrary, you have a credible defence in your case.