Q&A – 9 October 2017

Toilet with no water

We work in a large factory with hundreds of employees. Apart from the salary challenges we face with our employer, our factory has only got a single toilet for all of us. We have to literally queue in line to get into the washroom which is in a very poor state. The boss says there is no room to construct a toilet and therefore we have no choice. What should we do? We also have no supply of drinking water.
ER, Dar

The Occupational Health and Safety Act (‘OSHA Act’) provides in section 55 that (I) Sufficient and suitable sanitary conveniences shall be provided for persons employed in a factory or workplace and shall be maintained and kept clean and effective provision shall be made for lighting the sanitary convenience. (2) Where Persons of both sex are or are intended to be employed, the sanitary conveniences shall afford separate accommodation for persons of each sex. (3) For every number of females or males the provision of sanitary conveniences shall be one toilet for every twenty five persons or part thereof up to one hundred one additional urinal for males shall be provided in excess of forty persons. (4) Sanitary conveniences shall be made separately for disabled employees.

You must note that the above is a statutory requirement and an offence under the OSHA Act. We recommend you contact the nearest OSHA office and report this matter. As for drinking water, the OSHA Act also has a provision that mandatorily requires the employer to ensure that adequate supply of clean safe and wholesome drinking water is provided and maintained and is readily accessible to all persons employed on the premises.

Why no Kiswahili laws

I think Tanzania is still living under colonial times because all our laws are in English and most Tanzanians cannot speak English. I fail to understand how we can tolerate such injustices in our system. If you look at other countries like Turkey, Russia and European nations, they all have their laws in their own languages. Isn’t something being done about this? Imagine parliament debates the English laws in Kiswahili- that beats logic doesn’t it?
RE, Moshi

Simplification and translation of laws is among the Law Reform Commission of Tanzania’s activities which are provided for under the Law Reform Commission Act. We are informed that due to funding issues very few laws have been translated thus far, but such translation is in the pipeline.

Todate only the following laws have been translated: The Interpretation of Laws Act, Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Act, Proceeds of Crime Act, Labour institutions Act, Employment and Labour Relation Act, Law of contract Act, Police Force and Auxiliary Service Act, Community Services Act and the Anti- Money Laundering Act.

Your concerns should be shared with the Law Reform Commission of Tanzania for action.

Legality of pre-marital sex

Is it true that in Tanzania one can only have sexual intercourse if one is married? If so, how is this enforced?
MG, Morogoro

We have never come across any laws in Tanzania that disallow having sex before marriage. You will also appreciate that most of the population is not married and such a law can have very negative consequences. What is prohibited is having sex with a minor or with a close relative. However and shockingly, after we read your question, our research reveals that a 100 year old law in the state of Mississipi in the United States states that it is illegal to teach others what polygamy is, and adultery or premarital sex results in a fine of $500 or 6 months in prison. We could not verify if this law is still valid today but from our cursory research it seems the law was valid till atleast 2012 with commentators stating that the Mississipi legislature had even forgotten that such a law existed.

Your question is not weird after all.

Developer destroying our environment

There is a senior official of one of the city council’s who is constructing a building and dumps waste from construction right on the road creating a very dangerous environmental hazard for our children. He drives a big car and you can tell he has a lot of money. Whilst I was walking my dog, I saw him and politely told him that he should atleast clear the waste from the road, and he rudely told me that it was a public road and he wasn’t accountable to me. My small dog also barked at him and he was kicked very hard and literally flew a few metres. Are there not laws that protect those who don’t have the big funds and big cars.
HK, Dar

First and foremost the laws of Tanzania are nondiscriminatory in that they do not differentiate between the rich and the poor or the fat and the thin. Hence having a bigger wallet does not allow you to breach the law. On the waste front, the Environmental Management Act provides in section 5 that (1) Every person may, where a right referred to in section 4 is threatened as a result of an act or omission which is likely to cause harm to human health or the environment, bring an action against the person whose act or omission is likely to cause harm to human health or the environment.

There are other municipal by laws that this “senior official” is breaching and if the city authorities turn a deaf ear you can proceed to sue this individual. As for the kicking of your dog, the Animal Protection Act comes to the rescue of your dog. The act of kicking your dog is an offence under this act and an offender can be imprisoned to 1 month in jail.

Many people do not know this but Tanzanian has not lagged behind in protecting its animals having signed the Universal Declaration for Animal Welfare.