Q&A – 22 August 2022

Attempt to kill by witchcraft

Last week at night I caught a wizard naked in front of my house. When I asked him what brought him there at night, he said he was hired by my neighbour to kill me by witchcraft because of the misunderstanding I have with my neighbour. When I searched for the wizard, I found him in possession of the charm and other articles which he claimed have the evil power of killing. After his confession I took him to the local authority leader for the local leader to take him to the police station but the leader declined to put the wizard under arrest on the ground that the Government does not believe in witchcraft so as such there is no crime for him to report to the police. Was the local authority leader right in his opinion that the Government does not believe in the existence of witchcraft even in a situation like mine where the wizard himself confessed that he was hired to kill me? Is this not an offence of attempt to kill?  
AM, Tanga

The law takes the acts of witchcraft seriously. Using or possessing a charm or any article as an instrument of witchcraft with intent to kill another person is one of the offences under the Witchcraft Act [Cap.18 R.E 2022]. Section 3(ii) and 5(1) of the Witchcraft Act prohibits possession or use of anything as an instrument of witchcraft with intent to kill another person superstitiously. Even a person who hires, abets or advises another to kill someone by witchcraft commits the offence of witchcraft and both the wizard and advisor or the hirer are liable to be punished by imprisonment for a term not of less than seven years in prison.
The Government is aware of the existence of witchcraft and that is why it enacted the Witchcraft Act which provides severe minimum statutory penalties for any conduct amounting to witchcraft. You can still report the matter directly to the police for action.

Helping myself in the bush

When I was driving back to my home village for a weekend, I stopped on the way in order to have a call of nature in the forest which is located along the highway. In the process of having the call of nature I was arrested by the village militia for committing a crime. They took me to the village office where they told me to either pay a fine of TZS 100,000 or else they would have detained me in the village office till Monday to be taken to Court. Is having a call of nature in the bush an offence?
TW, Moshi

Section 174 of the Public Health Act, 2009 prohibits having a call of nature in areas other than the toilets built for that purpose along the highways. This offence attracts a punishment of a fine amounting to TZS 100,000 or imprisonment for a term of 6 months. Even regulation 10(2)(f) of the Land Transport Regulatory Authority (Certification of Commercial Vehicle Drivers and Registration of Crew) Regulations, 2020 as amended by Government Notice No.81 of 2021 prohibits a public passengers vehicle driver from stopping in the bush where there are no toilets or other social amenities for the purpose of allowing passengers to attend a short call of nature. However the challenge is that there are not enough toilets along highways so one can question what one does when you need to attend to the call of nature.

Breach of promise to marry

I had a fiancée to whom I had an engagement to marry for six years and based on the promise to marry her, I paid for secondary and college education costs. It has been a year now since she graduated from college and every time I tell her that we now need to plan the date of our wedding, she does not respond. Sometimes she does not even pick up my calls when I call her and I see two ticks when I send her a Whatsapp but there is no response. I have recently discovered that she is actually planning to get married to another man she met at college. Can I file a suit in Court to seek an injunction order prohibiting her from being married to another man and seek an order compelling her to be married to me?  
WR, Mwanza

Breach of promise to marry is an actionable wrong under section 69 and 70 of the Law of Marriage Act [Cap.29 R.E 2019]. However, for such an action to succeed, the petitioner must prove that the party who has breached the promise to marry was 18 years old or above at the time he/she gave the promise to marry. In your case, you need to prove that your fiancée was 18 years old or above at the time she gave you the promise to be married to her. It does not seem to be the case based on the brief facts, but you would know better.

Section 69(3) of the Law of Marriage Act bars Courts from giving an order compelling the marriage to be contracted. Hence the Court will not be able to grant an injunction order barring your fiancée from contracting marriage with another man or compelling her to get married to you. All that the Court can do is to order your fiancée to pay to you compensation attributed to costs you incurred to educate her when she was pursuing her secondary and college education. For the Court to award such a compensation, it must be satisfied that the education costs were incurred by you in contemplation of the marriage and the fiancée was 18 years old at the time she gave the promise of marriage. For the compensation to be awarded by the Court, there must be a direct cost suffered due to expenditure incurred as a result of the promise to marry. The Court cannot award anything in excess of the loss actually suffered.