Q&A – 4 October 2021

Maximum age to get married

I am a healthy 80 year old man and have a 29 year old girlfriend. Just as I was planning to get married, my cousin who is a self-proclaimed bush lawyer says that I am above the age for marriage especially considering that there is a 51-year gap between us. He says there is a recent change in law that intends to discourage elderly persons getting married like this. Is there such an age restriction for marriage and if so how can I work around it? It is high time I settle down.
FG, Dar

You are surely energetic for an 80 year old and we admire your health.

We have gone through various amendments to the Law of Marriage Act and have not come across any such restriction that disallows you as an 80 year old to get married or remarried in a heterosexual marriage. There is a minimum age to get married, which doesn’t apply to either of you.

Whilst it is indeed encouraging that a person of your age is able to get a girlfriend 51 years younger, we must warn you that not being able to cohabit is a ground for divorce. Understandably there is medicine available to ensure that you are able to do so, but we thought it was pertinent to inform you of this risk. We wish you all the best.

Beneficiaries’ knowledge of Will

I have made a Will and want to know whether there is an automatic way for the beneficiaries to be informed that they are beneficiaries after my death. I also wish to know how my executor will know that I have appointed him as my executor. I do not want the contents of my Will to leak out to anyone including my wife and any other beneficiaries. Is there a particular place that I can use to store my Will?
DL, Dar

Neither your beneficiaries nor executor(s) will know that they are mentioned in your Will if you do not inform them. It is as simple as that. There is no authority that informs them automatically.

Our first suggestion is for you to make sure that you ask the executor if he is agreeable to act as the executor. It is wise to also appoint an alternate executor should the first executor fail to act for some reason. Make sure you also inform this alternate executor. Most people forget to appoint an alternate executor.

Secondly, you should make sure that the executor and/or the beneficiaries or someone very trustworthy knows where the Will is stored. The facility you use should only release the Will upon your demise.

Some people store their Wills at home. Others store them in bank vaults with instructions to their bankers to release it to particular people upon ones demise. Others use Will storage facilities. We are not aware of specific Will storage facilities in Tanzania but there are many such facilities outside the country.

One sided insurance

My household fire insurance policy states that I cannot make a claim 14 days after a fire or burglary. I was overseas and just came back into the country to find my house totally empty. Everything was stolen. My broker says that the 14 days have passed and I cannot now claim. What should I do?
UI, Dar

Your broker should be trying to protect your interests. At the moment he seems to be acting like an agent of the insurer. We have not read this weird houseowners policy but you can certainly challenge it. You might want to read the wording of the policy whether it is 14 days from the date you found out or the date of the burglary. This unfair term can be reported to the Commissioner of Insurance who has the powers under the Insurance Act to delete or amend, obscure or ambiguous terms in a policy. Unfortunately, we do not have your policy to guide you any further but we believe you can pursue this with your broker and insurer.

Detained in police station for traffic offence

I was stopped by police officers who shockingly did an alcohol test on me. The results were positive and I got arrested and spent the night in police custody. Can they arrest me for this offence? Could they just not have fined me and let me go? Is this legal?
TT, Dar

The Road Traffic Act states that any person required to provide a specimen of blood for a laboratory test pursuant to the provisions of this Act may thereafter be detained at a police station until it appears to a police officer that the proportion of alcohol in the person’s blood does not exceed the prescribed limit. For the purposes of this Act, the expression “prescribed limit” means eighty milligrams of alcohol in one hundred millilitres of blood.

You can see that your arrest was legal to also protect you. There is nothing shocking about alcohol tests- they are now quite common in Dar.

Price fixing by factory owner

There are certain factories owned by some big shot owners that have developed monopolistic behavior. They have colluded to fix prices of the product and are creating an artificial shortage. There are all signs of practices that are anti competitive. Is there a law that can protect consumers in such a scenario?
JL, Dar

The Fair Competition Act comes to your protection. This act established the Fair Competition Commission (FCC) which oversees such activities and protects the interests of consumers. The Act has under it the Fair Competition Rules. Under the said rules there are provisions on how complaints are handled. As a consumer you can complain by submitting information to the FCC in any manner, or complaining using a standard form that the FCC Rules provide. Thereafter the investigation department of the FCC will investigate the complaint in view of determining if those against whom you have complained against have a case to answer or not. The Commission can use its discretion whether to entertain your complaint or not and if not entertained reasons must be provided. We suggest that you take the route above and fight for your rights through the FCC.