Q&A – 7 May 2012

Wife denying love

From the time I got married, my wife has not allowed me to even touch her. She says she is not ready for this. I am confused as to what to do. Can I get a Court order to force her to cooperate with me? I still love her.
EL, Mwanza

When you say she doesn’t allow you to touch her, we assume that your wife is denying you sexual intercourse i.e. cohabitation under your conjugal rights.

Marriage is a contract and one of the conditions of the contract is that you will live as man and wife and that you will not be denied cohabitation. You are being denied these rights on the ground that somehow your wife is not ready. You probably wished she had told you this before marriage but it is too late now. Thus your question is can you get a Court order that will force her to ‘cooperate.’

The old action of seeking a Court order to enforce your conjugal rights is no longer an option. You thus have no option but to either continue to live like that and wait for your wife to be ‘ready’ or proceed to divorce her. Denial of conjugal rights is one of the grounds based on which you can petition to divorce.

Please be informed that you should not forcefully try to engage her in intercourse. Although you are the husband and still in love, your wife has the right to say no, and forcefully engaging in any such activity may lead to you being charged with the serious offence of rape.
On a different note, you may want to find out what the reasons are for her to say ‘no’ to you. You should also consider seeking advice from a marriage counselor.

Identification by voice

My son aged 25 is currently charged with the offence of armed robbery. The only evidence that implicates him is that of the complainant who stated at the police that she could identify my son at the scene of the crime through his voice as she purportedly heard him calling his fellow robbers to leave the place after seeing people coming. The trial of the case has yet to start as investigations are ongoing. What should I do to assist my son? As a family we strongly believe that he is a mere victim of a bad relation between our family and that of the complainant due to a boundary dispute that we have.
PF, Singida

With the development of technology, there is an increase in the types of expertise available for the purpose of assisting the Court in question of whether or not a given person was at a particular place on a particular occasion at a particular time. Fingerprints and evidence of blood tests, for example, have long been available for this purpose. In recent years, other types of scientific processes have come in place.

In some jurisdictions evidence of facial mapping has also been admitted. Similarly the evidence of voice identification by a person experienced in the field has been used in many jurisdictions.

Unfortunately in Tanzania, the law has not yet developed on the aspect of identification of culprits by their voices. However by saying this we do not mean that your son is wrongly charged. The police might have other reasons and better evidence for holding him. It will all come down to the evidence that will be tendered in Court during trial. You should focus on ensuring credible evidence is presented in Court to prove his innocence. It is very unlikely that he will be convicted if the prosecution is only relying on the voice heard during the robbery.

Your Attorney can guide further.

Failure to assist police

I am a resident of Dar es Salaam living in Temeke District where I have rented a room which I share with a friend who is also my business fellow. During Christmas time last year I was sick and sleeping at home and there came police officers who were looking for my friend who had gone out. They asked me about a computer that they alleged had been stolen from a shop in the city centre. I was honestly unaware of this item but they were not convinced which resulted in the house being searched. Unfortunately the computer was found under my own bed. I was taken to the police for failing to assist them in their search and have now been charged with the offence of stealing and retaining stolen goods. After hearing about this, my friend has fled and I have no company in remand prison. What should I do?
EL, Dar

Failing to assist the police in searching for stolen goods does not in itself amount to obstructing the police from executing their duties nor is your failure to reveal the presence of the computer in your room capable of amounting to assisting in its retention. However assuming the facts you have given us are correct, it is difficult for one to believe that you were not aware of the presence of the computer in your room. The only way you can escape conviction in this situation will depend on the evidence you will lead in defence to negate the knowledge that the computer was stolen.

We are not in a position to advice you on how to get company in remand prison apart from trying to assist the police to locate your friend.

Conscience clause in contract

I am a doctor from overseas and negotiating my contract with a hospital in Dar. The hospital expects me to do all kinds of work and is unwilling to heed to my demand to the insertion of a conscience clause in my contract. What should I do?
TB, Dar

A conscience clause allows you to be excused from certain duties that you morally disapprove of. This clause has been widely used in contracts with doctors who oppose abortion. In Tanzania abortion is illegal and a criminal offence so you need not worry about that as by operation of law, you cannot perform an abortion unless it is for medical reasons. However should you have other moral concerns, you can perhaps discuss this with your employer. Alternatively you can look for another employer, as parties are free to negotiate terms as they deem fit in their contracts.