Q&A – 8 April 2019

Serious abuses on Facebook

There is a particular person who keeps on abusing me on Facebook. No one seems to care and people end up commenting. It is really causing me stress and I feel I am being stalked and abused. Is there a way I can stop this?
TI, Dar

Section 23 of the Cyber Crimes Act comes to your rescue and states that (1) a person shall not initiate or send any electronic communication using a computer system to another person with intent to coerce, intimidate, harass or cause emotional distress. (2) A person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of not less than five million shillings or to imprisonment for a term of not less than three years or to both.

You can report this to the police who can take this up. It will likely lead to the arrest of the person and so long as it is known who it is, this should be easy to do.

You may also want to consider suing the person for defamation. To constitute defamation, a claim must generally be false and have been made to someone other than the person defamed. Some common law jurisdictions also distinguish between spoken defamation, called slander, and defamation in other media such as printed words or images, called libel.

Compulsory testing for AIDS

The company I work for wants to conduct mandatory HIV testing on staff. Can I be forced to take a HIV test?
MN, Moshi

The answer is no. You cannot be forced to do this test. Section 15 of the HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Act states that (1) Every person residing in Tanzania may on his own motion volunteer to undergo HIV testing. (2) A child or a person with inability to comprehend the result may undergo HIV testing after a written consent of a parent or recognized guardian. (3) A person shall not be compelled to undergo HIV testing. (4) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (3), no consent shall be required on HIV testing- (a) under an order of the Court; (b) on the donor of human organs and tissues; and (c) to sexual offenders.

Recalling a product

There is a particular product that has had an international recall except for in Tanzania where the local sole distributor has not taken any action despite fully knowing of this recall. Is there no law that protects Tanzanian consumers?
GP, Dar

The Fair Competition Act provides that (I) notwithstanding the provisions of this Act, where a person voluntarily takes action to recall goods because the goods will or may cause injury to any person, he shall, within two days after taking that action, give a notice in writing to the Commission:  (a) stating that the goods are subject to recall; and (b) setting out the nature of the defect in, or dangerous characteristics of, the goods. (2) A person who contravenes sub-section (1), commits an offence and is liable on conviction: (a) in the case of a person not being a body corporate to a fine of not less than fifty thousand shillings and not exceeding one million shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding twelve months; or (b) in the case of a person being a body corporate to a fine of not less than one hundred thousand shillings and not exceeding five million shillings.

Your concern can be reported to the Fair Competition Commission who can take appropriate action.

Executive powers during emergency

Is it true that the President can order the arrest of anyone who may be detained for an unspecified period of time?
FP, Morogoro

Under the Emergency Powers Act, the President has the powers to order any specified authority to whom the president may delegate his powers under section 5, if satisfied with respect to any particular person that with a view of preventing him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the public safety or the maintenance of public tranquility it is necessary so to do, may arrest such person without warrant, or may direct the arrest without warrant of such person and in making such arrest any means that may be necessary may be used. (2) An arrest made by or on the direction of a specified authority under this section shall be reported forthwith to the President by the specified authority so making or so directing the arrest as the case may be, and the authority making the report may by order in writing commit any Person so arrested to such custody as the President may deem fit. (3) The President may by order in writing commit any person arrested on his direction to such custody as he may deem fit. (4) No person detained shall, unless the President by a special order otherwise directs, be detained in custody for a period exceeding two months. (5) No person shall be detained in custody for an aggregate period exceeding six months unless it is shown to the satisfaction of the President that his continued detention is in the public interest; in that case he may be detained for a further period not exceeding three months. (6) The President may, by general or special order, determine the conditions as to maintenance, discipline and the punishment of offences and breaches of discipline which shall be applicable to persons committed to custody by an order made under subsection (2) or subsection (3).

As is the case in other countries, the head of state in Tanzania has powers to ensure the public is adequately protected and hence can order a particular person to be arrested and held in custory but for a period as specified above. The period is not unlimited.