Q&A – 23 August 2021

Uncertified driving instructor

One evening whilst on the road training my 17 year old daughter how to drive, we were stopped by a traffic police who asked us two questions. First if my daughter had a learner driver’s licence and if I had an instructor’s certificate. My daughter had a learner driver’s licence but I did not have what the traffic police called instructor’s certificate though I had my driving licence. The traffic police imposed a fine of TZS 30,000 for the offence he called giving driving instruction to a learner driver without a driving instructors’ certificate. Does this offence really exist under the laws of Tanzania? It doesn’t make sense to me that to be able to teach my daughter driving, I am required to get an instructor’s certificate as if I am teaching in a driving school. Please guide me if I was treated fairly by the traffic policeman before I decide to pay the imposed fine.

It is against section 21(1) of the Road Traffic Act [Cap.168 R.E 2002] read together with paragraph 35 of the Schedule to the Road Traffic (Notification of Offences) Regulations, 2011 (GN No.257 of 2011) for anyone to give driving instructions to a learner driver without the instructor being in possession of driving instructions certificate. Any driving instructor must be a certified driving instructor and should have the driving instructor’s certificate for him to be able to legally give instructions to another.

This legal requirement is mandatory irrespective of the relationship between the instructor and the learner driver. Duty to possess a driving instructor’s certificate is not waived by a mere fact that the instructor has the driving licence. Driving licence and instructor’s certificate are two different documents and therefore the traffic police was right to impose a fine on you for giving driving instruction to your daughter without being in possession of instructor’s driving licence. We must admit that this fact is not known to many.

In order to avoid a penalty associated with delay to pay the fine, we advise you to pay the fine imposed on you by the traffic police immediately.

Divorce before expiration of two years of marriage

It is one year now since I contracted my marriage but feel I need to petition the Court for divorce because I suspect my husband has an adulterous association with other women. There are people telling me that the law does not allow divorce before expiry 2 years from the date of contracting the marriage. Is this assertion legally valid?
FM, Morogoro

A petition for divorce within 2 years of marriage is allowed. However, before lodging such a petition, the spouse who seeks to dissolve his or her marriage that has subsisted for less than 2 years has to obtain leave of the Court first in terms of section 100(1) of the Law of Marriage Act [Cap.29 R.E 2019]. After the grant of leave is granted is when a petition to dissolve such young marriage can be lodged. A spouse applying for leave to lodge a petition for dissolution of a less than 2 years old marriage must prove that he or she is suffering exceptional hardship in the marriage that makes the continued relationship intolerable. Promiscuity is mentioned in section 107(2) of the Law of Marriage Act as a ground for divorce but when it comes to grant of leave to petition for divorce of a marriage that has subsisted for less than 2 years, section 100(2) of the same Act recognises only one ground which is exceptional hardship in the marriage.

So promiscuity of the husband is a good ground for divorce if the marriage has lasted for more than 2 years but not an automatic ground for grant of leave to petition for dissolution of a marriage that has lasted for less than 2 years. In order for you to get leave, you need to prove how the promiscuity of your husband is causing you exceptional hardship in the marriage before you can proceed. Your lawyers can guide you further.

Selling counterfeit COVID-19 vaccine

I have heard news in the international media that in other countries some people have been found selling counterfeit Covid-19 vaccines. Do we have such a law in Tanzania that addresses sale or supply of counterfeit COVID-19 vaccines?
AO, Arusha

Yes. We have such protection under our laws. Under section 76 of the Tanzania Medicine and Medical Devices Act, it is an offence to sell, supply, manufacture, import, or even merely possess any counterfeit drug. Section 3 of that Act defines the term drug broadly to include any substance or mixture of substances manufactured, sold or presented for use in prevention of a disease. COVID-19 vaccines are such substances or mixture of substances intended for prevention of COVID-19 disease.

Vaccine can be deemed to be counterfeit if: (a) it is an imitation of another vaccine likely to deceive or it bears upon its label or container the name of another vaccine which is not; (b) it purports to be a vaccine of a manufacturer of whom it is not truly its product; (c) container in which the real vaccine was packed has been substituted wholly or in part by another substance which is not the original vaccine packed in that container; (d) the label or container purporting to contain the vaccine bears the name of a fictitious manufacturer who does not exist.

A person convicted of an offence relating to counterfeit COVID-19 vaccine is liable to imprisonment for a term not less than 2 years. Because this is a serious offence, there is a likelihood that the offender can be sentenced to more than the minimum sentence of 2 years.