Q&A – 20 November 2017

No porn, no babies

I have just gotten married and cannot seem to be fully functional in bed without watching pornography. Surprisingly I am told Tanzania does not allow pornographic material or movies to be imported. Is that true? Can I look at porn that is circulated via whatsapp? Can I watch porn outside Tanzania? Please assist as I want to start having a family.
YU, Dar

Pornographic material in Tanzania is banned and you will be breaking the law if you try to obtain it, even if it is for your private use.

We are unsure if you are suffering from a medical condition called porn addiction which even starts like Mel Gibson and Tiger woods suffered from and were treated for. You may want to consult your doctor. As for using or viewing porn that is circulated vide whatsapp, section 14 of the Cyber Crimes Act states that (1) A person shall not publish or cause to be published through a computer system or through any other information and communication technology: (a) pornography; or (b) pornography which is lascivious or obscene. (2) A person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable on conviction, in the case of publication of- (a) pornography, to a fine of not less than twenty million shillings or to imprisonment for a term of not less than seven years or to both; and (b) pornography which is lascivious or obscene, to a fine of not less than thirty million shillings or to imprisonment for a term of not less than ten years or to both.

This means that the users of whatsapp, most of whom probably dont know about the strictness of our law, could end up in jail because of the porn that they are circulating. Nothing stops you from watching porn in a country which allows porn movies.

Infact, most developed countries and a number of developing countries have legalised pornography. At the moment we dont see that happening in Tanzania. If your problem persists, your best choice is to cohabit outside Tanzania, unless of course you get ‘anti porn’ treatment in Tanzania that works. We are however unaware of any such treatment being available in Tanzania.

Disclaimers at car parks

I drive a big 4WD which I take care of as being part of my family. In order to protect it, I pay exorbitant monthly fees to park in one building in town with an exclusive parking lot. To my surprise the owner of the building has kept signs everywhere in the building that parking is at the owner’s risk. Now do I have to also hire a security company to guard my car? What does the law provide? How can the owner exempt himself from liability while at the same time he demands so much for parking?
KA, Dar 

The law of tort requires owners of the buildings to ensure that the buildings are safe for the persons who are invited therein. The owner of the building where you park your car is in the business of renting spaces for parking and also charges fees on every person who parks in that building. Hence he is responsible to take all reasonable measures to ensure that the cars which are parked in his business place are safe from theft or damage.

If the cars are damaged or stolen due to owners negligence or employee’s negligence, he may be held liable under the law of tort. Such signs that parking is at owner’s risk will not exempt him from tortious liability unless he can prove that he had taken all reasonable measures to ensure that the cars are safe and that any damage or theft of the car or spare parts was not due to his or his employee’s negligence.

The signs that parking is at owners risk are usually attempts by such building owners to limit or reduce potential future liability. However such a sign should not deter you to seek compensation from the owner in case something does get stolen or damaged. Similarly you see such signs in gyms where gymn owners also state that those working out at gymn’s do so at their own risk. As explained above, these signs are just attempts to limit liability. It is also proven that when non lawyers read such signs they tend to not want to pursue any claims thinking their claims will not succeed.

Boss wishes to visit employee homes

I work in a certain company which operates both locally and internationally. Few months back a new expatriate has been seconded to Tanzania as our Managing Director. This new boss has come up with many changes including a condition that he must visit all his senior managers’ residences and homes. I am one of those managers and feel this is completely a non-employment issue and which is none of my employer’s business. Is there a requirement for the employer to visit employees’ homes? Is there no law that takes care of this? I feel this is an interference on personal affairs.
TP, Dar

Off course what your boss is doing may sound strange in local context and on the basis of what you might have been used to. Equally the labour laws have no requirement for an employer to visit employee’s homes and or residences. Your boss might be doing this as a courteousy as a tactic of getting closer to his senior staff. However from a human resources point of view, knowing where your employees are staying is crucial. It is normal for human resources officers to verify, amongst others, employees’ particulars including residence and physical addresses.

However you cannot be penalised for failure to entertain your boss at your home. Since the labour laws are to ensure harmony at your work place, you may raise this with the human resources office, trade union in your office and/or in the higher chain internally for it to be resolved.