Q&A – 30 September 2013

Kissing in public

Is there a law that prohibits my boyfriend and I from deep kissing in the public? If yes, is that not an infringement on my personal rights enshrined under the constitution? I am determined to deep kiss in the public. Kindly guide me.
EJ, Dar

There is no specific provision that deals with kissing per se. However the Penal code states in section 175 states that any person who publicly exhibits any indecent show or performance or any show or performance tending to corrupt morals, is guilty of a misdemeanour, and is liable, to imprisonment for two years or to a fine of two thousand shillings.

You may claim that kissing is not a show or performance hence inapplicability of the above section. However section 176 of the Penal Code has another provision that states every person who without lawful excuse publicly does any indecent act shall, be deemed idle and disorderly persons, and shall be liable to a fine not exceeding five hundred shillings or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three months or to both such fine and imprisonment.

The next question is what is an indecent act? This is not defined in the Penal Code but deep kissing, as you have stated is likely, in Tanzanian culture and local context, an indecent act and hence this type of kissing is in contravention of the local laws which can result in you being imprisoned.

As for your personal rights to be protected, you must note that the constitution cannot cover for everything and hence specific laws are enacted for specific reasons. Whilst deep kissing in the public might be allowed in the western world, in Tanzania you can “deep kiss”, but not in the public. That is why we have bedrooms. If you are still intending to deep kiss in the public, we recommend you meet your lawyers otherwise you might end up in prison.

How to prove I’m Tanzanian

I was born in Mwanza region few decades ago and since then I have lived and stayed in Tanzania. Both my father and mother are Tanzanians though of different tribes. I am a businessman and my business requires me to travel in different places within the country especially regions near other country’s borders. Having heard that illegal immigrants are now being expelled in the country, I am worried I might be a victim since most of my friends tell me I resemble people of a certain neighboring country. How can I prove that I am a Tanzanian? Please guide.
PT, Kagera

The fact that you resemble people from a neighboring country does not mean that you are not a Tanzanian. In this country, matters of Citizenship are legally governed and in this regard the Tanzania Citizenship Act [CAP 357 R.E. 2002] is relevant. There is no law that states what a Tanzanian must look like.

Generally our laws recognize three types of citizenship these being citizenship by birth, citizenship by descent and citizenship by naturalization. Any person born in Tanzania is deemed to be a citizen of the United Republic if at the time of his birth one of his parents is or was a citizen of United Republic of Tanzania. Also any person born outside the United Republic on or after Union day is deemed to be a citizen of the United Republic by descent if one of his parents is a citizen of the United Republic of Tanzania by birth or naturalization. Lastly any person who is not a citizen of Tanzania, whether by birth or descent, may apply for Tanzania citizenship by naturalization to the Minister responsible for citizenship matters.
All in all, the Tanzania Citizenship Act also provides for a possibility of issuance of certificate of citizenship in cases of doubt.

This law under Section 21 provides that the Minister may, in any cases which he thinks fit, on the application of any person with respect to whose citizenship of the United Republic a doubt exists, whether on a question of fact or law, certify that that person is a citizen of the United Republic; and a certificate issued under this section shall, unless it is based on false representation or concealment of any material fact, be conclusive evidence that that person was a citizen on the date of the certificate, but without prejudice to any evidence that he was such a citizen at an earlier date.

With the foregoing we believe it should not be difficult to prove that you are a Tanzanian since your facts speak for themselves. However we advise you to further process for the birth certificate and your identity from the respective authorities if you have not done so already. Your lawyers can guide you further.

Playboy magazine in Tanzania

I am a foreigner and have my friends in my home country send me playboy magazine which I like reading. Is this legal?
WU, Dar

The Penal Code states in section 175 that any person who (a) for the purpose of or by way of trade or for the purpose of distribution or public exhibition, makes, produces or has in his possession any one or more obscene writings, drawings, prints, paintings, printed matter, pictures, posters, emblems, photo- graphs, cinematograph -films or any other objects or any other object tending to corrupt morals; or advertises or makes known how, or from whom, any such matters or things can be procured either directly or indirectly is guilty of a misdemeanour, and is liable, to imprisonment for two years or to a fine of two thousand shillings. Surely the Playboy magazine which is pornographic material falls under obscenity and hence you can be imprisoned if found in possession of it. Your lawyers can guide you more.