Q&A – 5 June 2023

Wife to be, rejects me

I got engaged to a woman who has now changed her mind. I have spent a lot of time planning the marriage only to be met with this new resistance. How can you help me? I could have married a very rich girl had it not been for this engagement. I need to get this sorted.
PP, MorogoroWe are not sure how to assist you other than provide some legal guidance. To break the bad news first, you cannot force your fiancé to get married to you. She has a right to break the engagement and all you can do is claim damages from her.The Law of Marriage Act provides for this in section 69 and states: right to damages for breach of promise of marriage (1) a suit may be brought for damages for the breach of a promise of marriage made in Tanzania whether the breach occurred in Tanzania or elsewhere, by the aggrieved party or, where that party is below the age of eighteen years, by his or her parent or guardian: Provided that (a) no suit shall be brought against a party who, at the time of the promise, was below the age of eighteen years; (b) no damages shall be awarded in any such action in excess of loss actually suffered as a result of expenditure incurred as a direct result of the promise. (2) A suit may similarly be brought in respect of the breach of a promise of marriage made in any other country but only if such an action would lie under the law of that country as well as under this Act. (3) No suit shall be brought for specific performance of a promise of marriage.

Having read the above, you will observe that the maximum you can do is claim damages from your fiancé for actual damages suffered. Hence, if the rich girl ‘you missed’ would have bought you a mansion, that will not be part of damages that you suffered under our laws. However, amounts spent in planning a wedding can be claimed back in the suit.

Getting out of a contract

One of my relatives has entered into a crazy contract and wants to get out of it? What does he need to do? Can the contact be nullified?
PO, MorogoroIf your relative wishes to get out of a contract, the options available to them will depend on various factors, such as the specific terms of the contract, applicable laws, and the grounds for seeking termination. We would suggest he reviews the contract terms and conditions to understand the obligations, rights, and any provisions regarding termination or cancellation. He should pay attention to any clauses that allow for termination or provide remedies for breach. Grounds for termination could include factors such as lack of capacity, mistake, fraud, illegality, coercion, or a breach by the other party.A contract can be nullified under certain circumstances. Nullification of a contract essentially means that the contract is deemed invalid or void from its inception, as if it never existed. The specific grounds for nullifying a contract can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the applicable laws that apply to this contract. Some grounds for nullification are discussed below.

Lack of Capacity: If one or more parties to the contract lacked the legal capacity to enter into a contract, such as being a minor, mentally incapacitated, or under duress, the contract may be nullified.
Mistake: If a mistake of fact or a fundamental error occurred at the time the contract was formed, which significantly affects the parties’ understanding of the contract’s terms, it may be possible to seek nullification.

Fraud or Misrepresentation: If one party intentionally conceals or misrepresents material facts or induces the other party to enter into the contract through fraudulent means, the contract may be nullified.

Illegality: If the contract involves illegal activities or violates public policy, it may be subject to nullification.

Coercion or Undue Influence: If one party exerts coercion or undue influence over another party, forcing them into the contract against their will or manipulating their decision-making process, the contract may be nullified.

Duress: If a party is forced to enter into a contract under threat or physical harm, the contract may be voidable or nullified.

It is important to note that the process and requirements for nullifying a contract may vary depending on the jurisdiction and the specific circumstances of the case. Seeking legal advice from a qualified professional is advisable if you believe there are grounds for nullifying a contract.

Goldsmith cheating in grammage

I have been buying gold ornaments for years from a particular goldsmith (sonara) in Dar who has always been giving me great discounts. Three months ago, I went and bought two sets of earrings. After I left the sonara, I was unsure of the grammage of the earrings and I went back to get each of the earrings labelled with their actual weight. Fortunately or unfortunately I went into the neighbouring sonara shop believing it to be the one I had just come out of. Luckily the person there was very cooperative and agreed to measure the earrings for me. To my dismay the grammage was much less than what the seller’s scale showed me, meaning that his scale is deliberately calibrated to show more grammage and cheat customers. I think I have been cheated by this sonara for the past ten years. Is there no law that regulates the weighing scales that such sonaras use?
OP, DarThere is a specific Act- the Weights and Measures Act that protects you. Infact such scales are to be regularly inspected and you have all the rights to report this to the Weights and Measures Agency (WMA) who will take appropriate action. The WMA can both fine and imprison such a sonara.
You also have the right to report this to the police for investigation as this is a cause of concern for all purchasers of gold from such sonaras. Such behavior amounts to a criminal offence which is imprisonable.