Q&A – 24 April 2023

Interfaith marriages not prohibited in Tanzania

My parents and I are dedicated Christians of Roman Catholic denomination. I have been in love with a Muslim lady for almost a decade now, as we met for the first time in high school in Kenya. I want to tie a knot with her but my parents are unwilling claiming that in Tanzania, it is not allowed for a Christian to marry a Muslim and vice versa. Is there such a law?
BK, Rombo

Your parents are wrong. There is no such law. Infact the way different religions live in peace with each other in Tanzania is a perfect model for many other countries around the world. There have been many instances of Christians raising funds for Muslim causes, and Muslims doing the same in Tanzania.

Tanzania is a secular nation, meaning that it is not aligned to one specific religion. This offers an opportunity for one to choose his or her religion. Based on this, interfaith marriages are not prohibited by any law in Tanzania; and for that matter, parents or any other relatives cannot legally bar any person from marrying a person he/she loves. The law of marriage in Tanzania specifies prohibited marriages but a marriage between persons of different faiths is not among them hence you can proceed.

You might want to look for elders in your area to persuade your parents to consent to your marriage although you can still marry your loved one without their consent. We wish you all the best.

Buyer not bound to return rejected goods

I am a small scale trader of garments in one of the townships in Muleba. I normally order garments from a wholesale trader who operates in Dar es Salaam. I send my orders via whatsapp messages and afterwards transfer money in his bank account when he confirms the availability of the required garments. The garments then get sent by bus. Recently, I sent my order where I specified that I needed 20 woolen suits of different sizes but all to be dark-blue in colour as it was a special order for a choir uniform. This was clearly disclosed to the trader. He confirmed that he had the garments of those specifications and I paid the price but instead of supplying the dark-blue suits he supplied ocean-blue ones. The choir has rejected the suits. My supplier now wants me to return back the rejected suits at my own cost before he can send me the correct ones. I am stranded as I do not have more money to pay. Is the wholesale trader justified?
RT, Muleba

The wholesale trader is not justified to require you to incur costs for returning the rejected suits. The law governing sale of goods in Tanzania sets it clear that, unless otherwise agreed, where the goods are delivered to the buyer and he refuses to accept them, having the right to do so, he is not bound to return them to the seller.

You have a right of rejecting the suits as you specified the colour of the suits in your order. Most importantly, you ordered the suits for a specific customer and you disclosed that fact to the seller. As per the law, and given the circumstances of your case, the wholesale trader is duty bound to shoulder the costs of returning the rejected suits back to Dar es Salaam and supply you with correct garments as per your specifications. Your lawyer can guide you on handling the matter.

Organizing animal fights

We used to have monthly bullfighting events in our village. Villagers paid entrance fees to enter the village stadium and the owner of the winning bull used to be awarded a handsome amount of money. Recently, the newly appointed and inexperienced Livestock Officer has prohibited the monthly bull fighting galas in a pretext that the act is against the law. He is even threatening the villagers not to attend. The Village Council has appointed a committee of five people, including me, to meet the District Commissioner (DC) to discuss the ban. Before meeting the DC we want your advice on the propriety of the ban. Is the Livestock Officer justified to ban the galas and prohibit the villagers from attending?
BY, Tabora

The newly appointed Livestock Officer is legally right to ban the bullfighting galas at your village in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act, 2008, (the Act). Section 36 of the Act, prohibits a person to promote, participate in, attend, assist at, receive money for, in any way facilitate an event involving fighting, training, harassing or tormenting of an animal. The section further prohibits a person to breed, sell or offer for sale an animal for fighting. According to the Act, even participation in events involving animal fighting is prohibited. Please seek further advice from animal welfare officers in your district or region or you might end up getting prosecuted.

Death sentence against a pregnant woman

I am a first-year law student currently studying criminal law. Can the Court pronounce death sentence against a pregnant woman? Would that not be inhumane?
TP, Dodoma

According to section 26(1) of the Penal Code, where a woman convicted of an offence punishable with death is alleged to be pregnant, the Court shall order that she be examined by a medical practitioner to establish the pregnancy. If it is proved to the satisfaction of the Court that she is pregnant, the Court shall sentence her to life imprisonment instead of suffering death by hanging.

Likewise, if the offender was below the age of 18 years at the time of committing the crime punishable with death, the Court instead of sentencing her/him to suffer death by hanging, shall order that the offender be detained at the President’s pleasure until such time when President will order otherwise.