Q&A – 3 April 2023

Spitting pariki in restaurant area

I was visited by city health officers who came to my restaurant while they were in the course of their routine health inspection. They asked me why I have not posted a public notice in the restaurant warning customers not to spit within the restaurant premises. I have never seen any restaurant with such a public notice warning customers not to spit in the restaurant area. I must admit that a good number of my customers take pariki (a tobacco product) and spit it out. Is this a requirement imposed on the restaurant operators by the City Council by-law or are these officers day dreaming?
EK, Dar

The officers are not daydreaming for sure.

Spitting, be it pariki or otherwise, in public places is one of the conduct which poses a public health danger since it may cause spread of some infectious diseases. To control this bad habit, regulation 38 of the Public Health (Waste and Human Remains Management) Regulations, 2017, prohibits spitting in public places such as restaurants, offices, halls, sidewalks, streets, floors, walls, or seats of any room, hotel or any place used in common by the public. In order to enforce this prohibition, regulation 38(2) imposes a duty on operators of these public places to post in a conspicuous place one or more printed notices prohibiting spitting in the public place.

As a restaurant operator you thus have the obligation to post a notice or notices in conspicuous places within the restaurant by warning your customers not to spit while they are within the restaurant area. Any in-charge who fails to fix a spitting warning notice in a conspicuous place within the premises commits an offence and is liable to a fine not exceeding TZS 50,000 or imprisonment.

Persons who spit in a public place, in your case those who eat pariki, also commit an offence and are liable to the same penalty as the operator. It is true that many offices, bars, restaurants, hotels, stadiums and other places commonly used by the public do not have the spitting warning notices despite there being clear Regulations imposing the obligation on the operators or supervisors of such public places to fix the spitting warning notice. That however doesn’t absolve you to comply.

Keeping pigs in urban areas

I own a one-acre farm within the municipality which I use for rearing pigs. I have been confronted by officers of the Municipal Council who are questioning me if I have a permit from the Municipal Council which allows me to keep pigs within the municipality. May I know if there is any legal requirement to seek or obtain a permission from the Municipal Council to keep pigs in one’s own land which I have legitimately purchased?
GH, Tabora

Farming in urban areas including rearing of pigs, cows, sheep, goats, camels, horses, poultry, rabbits and pets is regulated by the law. The two main regulations which govern urban farming are the Urban Planning (Urban Farming) Regulations, 2018 (GN No 90 of 2018) as amended by the Urban Planning (Urban Farming) (Amendment) Regulations, 2019 (GN No 51 of 2019) and the Public Health (Waste and Human Remains Management) Regulations, 2017 (GN No 169 of 2017). Keeping livestock in urban areas, including rearing pigs as you do, requires obtaining a prior written permission from the urban authority. The urban authority can only grant urban farming permits if the area in which the urban farming activity is intended to be carried out has been zoned for urban farming. Even where the area is zoned for urban farming, the urban authority has the discretion to refuse the grant of urban farming permit if the urban farming for which the permit is sought is likely to pose health hazard, cause environment pollution, create nuisance or endanger public health. Rearing of pigs in urban areas without a written permit of the urban authority is an offence punishable by fine not exceeding TZS 300,000.

An urban farmer granted urban farming permit has the obligation under the Public Health (Waste and Human Remains Management) Regulations, 2017 (GN No.169 of 2017) to ensure the manure produced by the animals does not cause nuisance or health hazard to the public. An urban farmer who fails to keep manure produced by the animals in a way that prevents nuisance or health hazard to the public commits an offence and is liable to a fine not exceeding TZS 200,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months.

Hence, if you are rearing pigs within the Municipality without a permission of the Municipal Council, you are committing a crime and if the manure produced by the pigs you are keeping is not well kept, you are committing another crime of environmental pollution.

Defendant called by the Plaintiff as a witness

A company in which I am a managing director has a civil suit with an individual who is the plaintiff in the suit and our company is the defendant. I have received a summons from Court requiring me to attend the Court as the plaintiff’s witness. Can I refuse to attend the Court as plaintiff’s witness on the ground that I am conflicted because I cannot be a witness for the plaintiff and the defendant in the same matter?
HR, Mtwara

Section 131 of the Evidence Act makes the parties to the civil suits and their witnesses competent and compellable. Since you have been summoned by the Court, you have to obey the Court summons and attend the Court. However, being competent and compellable does not mean you have to give evidence in favour of the plaintiff. There is a recent decision of the Court of Appeal allowing a plaintiff to call the defendant as his witness. The competency and compelability of the witness is not measured by the position the witness is holding in the case. Besides, the law does not bar the defendant who has testified for the plaintiff from appearing again for defence side when the case is set for the defendant’s hearing. It might actually work to your benefit. Your lawyer can guide you further.