Q&A – 7 August 2023

Dependent pass for same sex spouse

I am an engineer based in Europe and have recently secured a job in Tanzania in a company involved in a big strategic project. To be very honest I am in a same sex marriage and have been living with my partner for a number of years. Subsequent to securing a job in Tanzania, my employer has managed to get both work and residence permits. As I plan for my relocation to Tanzania with my spouse, I would like to seek your confirmation and advice as to whether my partner will be able to obtain a dependent pass.
AJ, Dar

Under the laws of Tanzania, a dependant pass is an immigration document/pass issued to a relative of a non-Tanzanian citizen holding a valid residence and/or work permit for Tanzania or any person who by reason of age, disability or other incapacity is unable to maintain himself or herself and depends upon such non-Tanzanian citizen for his or her maintenance.

A dependent pass can be issued to a wife or husband of a foreigner with a valid residence permit. However, under the Interpretation of Laws Act, a person is considered to be someone’s husband/wife if the marriage is valid under the Law of Marriage Act (the Act). According to the Act, a valid marriage is defined as a voluntary union of a man and woman intended to last for their joint lives. Therefore, a marriage in Tanzania must be a union of a man and a woman. Since in your case you have clearly stated to be engaged in a same sex marriage, your relationship is not recognised by the definition of marriage in the context of our laws to warrant issuance of the dependant pass based on the same sex marriage. This is the case in many other jurisdictions and is not only specific for Tanzania.

You might also note that same sex marriages in Tanzania are considered to be against public policy and an offence punishable with imprisonment. All in all, it is likelier than not that your spouse’s dependent pass will be rejected.

Period for disposal of company documents

We completed the winding up proceedings of our company a few weeks ago. For purposes of certainty and strict compliance with the law, we consulted with the Registrar of Companies to seek guidance regarding disposal of the wound-up company documents. To our surprise we have been told that the Registrar requires us to retain the documents of the wound up company for a period of 10 years. Our management is concerned with this requirement for it will expose us to unnecessary costs. We are requesting your guidance regarding the legal basis of the Registrar’s directive.
MF, Dar

We note that you have raised this concern at the right time as recently the Companies (Retention and Disposal of Company Documents) Regulations, 2023 (the Regulations) were issued. The said Regulations oblige companies to ensure maintenance and availability of all original documents for the periods as specified in the First Schedule to the Regulations which provide for a period of up to 10 years. It should be noted that the retention periods begin to run from the date the document is no longer in use (in your case, from the date the company was wound up).

You must also note that the document retention periods provided under the law, the Regulations also empower the Registrar, by giving reasons in a written notification, to direct any company to retain any documents beyond the prescribed period.

Based on the above, the Registrar has acted within the limits of the law, and is justified to do so.

Suing City Council for negligence

Few years ago I fell into a rain storm drainage that had no cover on a pedestrian lane and fractured my shoulder. Please advise if I can see the City Council or the Municipality concerned for the cost of surgery, hospitalization and loss of working days, trauma and other relevant damages?
MK, Arusha

Our understanding of your question is that the accident happened some years back. Unfortunately, you haven’t disclosed to us the number of years which have lapsed from the date when you fell into the uncovered storm drainage. We are mindful of the time because the Law of Limitation Act, Cap. 89, puts a limit of 3 years for one to pursue a suit founded on tort against a negligent defendant, as is the case here.

Take further note that before suing a City Council or Municipality, you need to give them a 90 days notice. The notice of intention to sue should be served as required under Section 106 (1) (a) of the Local Government (Urban Authorities) Act [Cap. 288 R.E.2019] as amended by Written Laws (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act, No. 1 of 2020 which is to the effect that no suit shall be commenced against an Urban Authority unless a 90 days notice of intention to sue is served upon that local government, the Attorney General and the Solicitor General.

After satisfying yourself that you are still within the time limitation in which you can institute a suit founded on tort and also serving the 90 days notice as stated above, you can institute a suit against the respective urban authority. For the case based on tort of negligence to stand there are five elements which the Court will consider before awarding your claims. First, you should prove that the urban authority owed you a duty of care not to cause you or others harm and, secondly, that there was a violation of a standard of care which resulted into you falling into the uncovered storm drainage. Third, you should be able to prove a correlation between the negligent or harmful action of the authority and the negative consequence you suffered. Fourth, you should prove that there was a direct link between a negligent act and the injury that resulted from that action (proximate cause). Lastly you must prove that you indeed suffered injuries, loss, or other expenses because of the urban authority negligence. Your attorney can guide you further.