Q&A – 25 December 2023

Tired of current marriage

My husband and I celebrated a Christian marriage about ten years ago. Our marriage is blessed with two children but I am no longer interested with this union anymore and want to move on and get married to another person. In addition to that I want my next marriage to be for a specific period of time which will make it easier if either of us want to move on after the lapse of the duration of the marriage. My friend told me that since it is a Christian marriage I cannot remarry unless my husband dies. I am desperate and just want out of this marriage. Kindly guide me.
GK Ngorongoro, Arusha

We are not aware of the practice of your Church because you have not mentioned which Church you belong to. Notwithstanding this, under our Law of Marriage Act, the reason you have advanced for divorce doesn’t fall among the grounds which the Court can grant divorce hence your Petition for divorce is likely to fail. Our Act has limited grounds like adultery, cruelty, amongst others, that can be used as grounds for divorce, not convenience as you have mentioned.

On the issue of marriage for a specific period of time, in your circumstances, section 12 of the Act strictly prohibits marriages for a specific duration of time whether contracted in Tanzania or elsewhere. We are however aware of other jurisdictions that allow this. Hence even if you are successful in getting a divorce, which looks doubtful, you will not be able to get married for a specific period in your second marriage.

AI chatbot instead of lawyers

I have recently been employed as a company secretary and head of legal department by a foreign company engaged in real estate business in Zanzibar.  My first assignment is to reduce the costs of retainer fees for litigation, drafting opinions and contracts with a law firm. In an attempt to reduce the costs for legal service, I intend to present to our board that we use AI chatbot which can perform the work of legal practitioners. I want our in-house lawyers to use AI chatbot for research, drafting opinions and pleadings instead of retaining law firms. Based on your extensive experience in the legal industry, I would like your thoughts on this issue.
ZP, Zanzibar

We are aware of the AI chatbot being used as an alternative way of obtaining legal services especially in the USA and some countries in Europe. Since this technology is still new the legal framework governing it in Tanzania does not exist. However, as per the definition of an advocate (legal practitioner in Zanzibar under the Advocates Act of 2020), AI chatbot does not qualify as an advocate. That being the case if you intend to use AI chatbot you can use it as any other online legal research platform but it cannot notarise documents or substitute the work of an advocate.

In addition we wish to inform you that should you opt to use the chatbot, the following are possible risks associated with the use of AI chatbot. To begin with there is no guarantee of privacy on the information you are putting in the AI chatbot, it is like you are sharing the information with the entire world. In addition the information provided by AI chatbot is based on what has been uploaded. Considering the fact that we are still in the process of uploading new case laws and amendments to the laws, AI chatbot’s search results may be inaccurate, incomplete, misleading and out of date. We recommend you move with caution.

Sexual bribe an economic offence

A HR manager explicitly demanded that I sleep with him before he offered me a job. Is this not a crime in Tanzania? Please guide me.
KG, Dar

Demanding or imposing a sexual favour to someone as a condition for him or her to get employment, promotion, right, privilege or any preferential treatment is a corruption offence under section 25 of the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Act [Cap.329 R.E 2019].

Moreover, in 2016, the Parliament through Act No. 3 of 2016 amended the Economic and Organised Crime Control Act [Cap. 200] by adding to its First Schedule corruption offences which now includes a sexual bribe. Being an economic offence, sexual bribes now attract a minimum penalty of 20 years imprisonment.

Severance pay on fixed term contract

I am an expatriate working for the past 5 years in a manufacturing company in Tanzania. My contract expired a few months ago and I did not want to renew it. I then approached the head of HR for my severance pay and was shocked to be told that I am not entitled to severance allowance. What is the legal position?
TR, Mwanza

The Head of HR is correct. In terms of section 42(3)(c) of the Employment and Labour Relations Act, an employee who is leaving his job because his fixed term contract has expired or because he/she has attained the retirement age is not entitled to a severance pay. Severance pay is given to an employee whose contract has been terminated by the employer and not to an employee whose contract has terminated automatically or an employee who has resigned.

Driving under the influence of alcohol

I have recently moved to Tanzania and want to know to what extent is intoxication a defence under Tanzanian laws? Is this taken up as seriously as in the Western world?
EF, Mtwara

Intoxication is usually no defence in criminal law unless the intoxication is not self-induced, or the person intoxicated was insane at the time of committing such an offence. Section 14 of the Penal Code specifically deals with this.

We must point out that under our laws, Intoxication is taken up seriously, although the implementation of such provision might be a little weaker than in the western hemisphere. All in all, the provision exists and it is an offence in Tanzania to drive when drunk.