Q&A – 31 December 2012

Registration of tour guides

I grew up in one of the village on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. From time immemorial, our family has been earning its living from tour guiding activities. We have for all this time not been interrupted by anybody and this experience has been passed amongst us for many generations. Recently, my older brother was apprehended for operating as a tour guide without being registered. We got him released just because of the connections we had with a certain man. I wonder what law forces us to register. We have been doing this for years now and most of us have no quali?cations to do other jobs. Was the reason for arrest of my brother fair? Please advise.
MN, Kilimanjaro

At the outset we wish to point out that every tour guide is required to be registered pursuant to the directives under the Tourism Act No 29 of 2008. A person who contravenes this commits an offence and shall on conviction be liable to a ? ne of not less than one million shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or both. The Tourism Act has further put quali?cations for one to be registered as a tour guide which includes being a Tanzanian of 21 years old, to have at least completed O-level education, to hold a valid ?rst aid certi?cate, to have adequate knowledge of the area and knowledge of the ?eld applied for and to have any other quali?cations as the minister for tourism may by order in the Gazette specify.

Since your brother operated as a tour guide he was contravening the law and as such his arrest was justi?able. The fact that your connections got him released might not save you the next time should you persist to continue operating as tour guides without being registered.

Lastly no matter how much we may sympathize with you to the effect that the law has not considered your time immemorial experience over the matter (tour guiding operations by your family), we still suggest you need to feel the breeze introduced by the Tourism Act since it is the law which we must all abide to. Otherwise you may solicit the changes of the law by writing to the minister of tourism so that your needs are accommodated by amending the law.

Cruelty and neglecting a mentally disordered person

Is Ignorance of the law a proper defense in a criminal case? If not, what are the other available defenses that I may use.
DS, Dar es Salaam

The Mental Health Act is an act to provide for the care, protection and management of persons with mental disorders and to provide for their voluntary or involuntary admission in mental health care facility and other related matters.

Under section 37(c) of this Act, any person who by act or omission commits any act of cruelty, abuse or neglect toward a mentally disordered person commits an offence and shall on conviction be liable to one-year imprisonment or to a ?ne of not less than ? ve hundred thousand shillings or to both. This is to say therefore that your neighbors are committing an offence under the Mental Health Act.

However on the issue of reporting, section 9 (2) of the Mental Health Act has made it clear by providing that a police of?cer or any other person shall, where there is a mentally disordered person who is in stable condition but is cruelly treated or neglected by a person having charge of him, immediately report that fact to the District Social Welfare Of?cer. The District Social Welfare Of?cer may after receiving the report cause a social assessment to be conducted and work with available mental health care facilities to improve social support structure for the said mentally disordered person.

In that regard we opine that you either report the said incident to a police of?cer or directly to the District Social welfare Of?cer for appropriate action.

Electronic evidence in Court

My ex-boyfriend keeps sending emails containing threats, degrading and immoral words intending to hurt me. I persevered for a longtime however he has not stopped and is now sending such emails about me to my family members. I wanted to report the matter to the police because I know it is a criminal offence however some people told me it’s a waste of time because I don’t have any other evidence apart from the emails. Kindly advise whether emails are admissible in Court as evidence.
AT, Mwanza

The Evidence Act was amended to the effect that, electronic evidence is admissible in Court as evidence. Also, there are High Court judgments in which the Judge allowed electronic evidence hence the same may admitted in Court as evidence.

However the opposite party may object to the admissibility of the said emails on legal grounds and the Court will make a ruling on the same. We encourage you to report the matter to the police and tender the said emails to them as evidence and the law will take its course.