Q&A – 9 November 2020

Fake guarantee of jobs by University

I saw an advert from a university that said all their graduates get jobs. Infact the advert said 100% job guaranteed. I studied there and this is the third year, am jobless. I have paid millions of shillings to this institute and want to sue them for misrepresentation, recover my money and claim for damages. Please guide me.
GG, Dar

We would have liked to look at the advert before we answer this question. In any case, there is a chance that you can sue the university; however if your grades were not good, or you did not study when there you cannot blame your university. Knowledge transfer unfortunately doesn’t happen by way of a transfer cable, but hard work and studying. There have been similar cases in other countries where universities have marketed aggressively seeking students, and what they have presented in their adverts has amounted to being held as misrepresentation. We suggest you consult your lawyer who can study this case in its entirety before you sue.

Mass marketing e-mails

I keep on getting mass marketing e mails from suppliers of various products from cement and mobile phones, to caterers and hotels. I have never asked them to send these adverts and promotions and yet I receive them. Is sending such mass communication legal? If I buy goods or services from such online suppliers, how does one enter into a contract without signing it on hard paper?
EL, Dar

The Electronic Transactions Act of 2015, which is an important law specifically addresses this in that (1) a person shall not send unsolicited commercial communication on goods or service unless (a) the consumer consents to the communication; (b) at the beginning of the communication, the communication discloses the identity of sender and its purpose; and (c) that communication gives an opt-out option to reject further communication. (2) The consent requirement is deemed to have been met where (a) the contact of the addressee and other personal information were collected by the originator of the message in the course of a sale or negotiations for a sale; (b) the originator only sends promotional messages relating to its similar products and services to the addressee; (c) the originator offered the addressee the opportunity to opt-out and the addressee declined to opt-out; and (d) an opportunity to opt-out is provided by the originator to the addressee with every subsequent message. (3) An originator who contravenes this section commits an offence and shall, upon conviction, be liable to a fine of not less than ten million shillings or to imprisonment for a term not less than one year or to both.

You can see that such unsolicited messages are illegal especially if you had not consented and are unable to opt out from receiving them. The same law recognises formation of contracts electronically and states that (1) for avoidance of doubt, a contract may be formed electronically unless otherwise agreed by the parties. (2) Where an electronic record is used in the formation of a contract, that contract shall not be denied validity or enforceability on the ground that an electronic record was used for that purpose.

Forced or induced female genital mutilation

In some tribes married women are induced or forced by their sister-in-law’s or mother-in-law to undergo female genital mutilation to purportedly earn respect in the community. Does the law not create an offence of forced or induced female genital mutilation for married women?
JF, Dodoma

Generally induced or forced female genital is prohibited but the name of the offence varies depending on the age of the female. If the female is a girl under the age of 18 years, the offence is termed child cruelty contrary to section 169A of the Penal Code. This offence covers parents, guardians and those who carry out or cause to be carried out female genital mutilation. Cruelty to a child is punishable with imprisonment for a term of not less than 5 years but not exceeding 15 years or a fine not exceeding TZS 300,000. Since the law gives the option of paying a fine, the Court would normally imposes the fine (which is not much) if the individual is a first time offender.

However, where female genital mutilation is carried out against a married woman over the age of 18 years, the offence shall be termed as causing grievous bodily harm contrary to section 225 of the Penal Code. The maximum punishment for causing grievous bodily harm is 7 years imprisonment. In such cases, the Court has the discretion to impose the appropriate sentence upto seven years.

Time limitation to petition for letters of administration

What is the limitation period for petitioning a Court for letters of administration of the deceased estates? I am getting conflicting opinions from various lawyers.
UT, Dar

Rule 31 of the Probate Rules requires the petitioner who petitions the Court for a letter of administration after the expiration of 3 years from the death to explain in the petition the reasons for delay to petition.

In the case the petitioner fails to give a satisfactory explanation, the Court may require him/her to give further proof of the delay. But where the proof for delay is not given at all in the petition, the Court will strike out the petition on the ground of time limitation.

Hence you need to make sure that if you are beyond the 3 year limit above, then you provide reasons for delay in petitioning.