Ward Tribunals Act


Ward Tribunals Act

Chapter 206

  • Published in Tanzania Government Gazette
  • Commenced on 1 July 1988
  • [This is the version of this document at 31 July 2002.]
  • [Note: This legislation has been thoroughly revised and consolidated under the supervision of the Attorney General's Office, in compliance with the Laws Revision Act No. 7 of 1994, the Revised Laws and Annual Revision Act (Chapter 356 (R.L.)), and the Interpretation of Laws and General Clauses Act No. 30 of 1972. This version is up-to-date as at 31st July 2002.]
[G.N. No. 199 of 1988; Acts Nos. 7 of 1985; 12 of 1990; 18 of 1995; Cap. 216]An Act to establish Ward Tribunals, to provide for their jurisdiction, powers, practice and procedure and other related matters.

Part I – Preliminary provisions (ss 1-2)

1. Short title

This Act may be cited as the Ward Tribunals Act.

2. Interpretation

In this Act unless the context requires otherwise—"appropriate authority", when used in relation to a Tribunal, means the district council or the urban authority within whose area the Tribunal is established, and includes any person appointed by the appropriate authority to perform any of its functions under this Act;"Chairman" means the Chairman of a Tribunal and includes a person appointed to preside at proceedings of the Tribunal;"dispute" includes any case where a person complains of, and is genuinely aggrieved by, the actions of another person, or any case in which a complaint is made in an official capacity or is a complaint against an official act;"member" means a member of a Tribunal, and includes the Chairman;"Minister" means the Minister for the time being responsible for local Government Authorities;"Tribunal" means a Ward Tribunal established under section 3;"urban ward" means any ward constituted under the jurisdiction of an urban authority;"village" means any registered village or Ujamaa Village registered or designated under the Local Government (District Authorities) Act1, or the Local Government (Urban Authorities) Act2;1Cap. 2872Cap. 288"village council" means a village council established under the Local-Government (District Authorities) Act3, or the Local Government (Urban Authorities) Act4;3Cap. 2874Cap. 288"ward committee" means a ward committee established under the Local Government (District Authorities) Act5, or the Local Government (Urban Authorities) Act6, for the ward in which the Tribunal is established.5Cap. 2876Cap. 288

Part II – The Ward Tribunals (ss 3-7)

3. Establishment of Ward Tribunals

There is hereby established a tribunal for every ward in Tanzania to be known as the Ward Tribunal for the ward for which it is established:Provided that the Minister may, by notice published in the Gazette, establish two tribunals for a Ward if he is of the opinion that there are special circumstances which make it necessary or desirable to do so.

4. Composition of Tribunals

(1)Every Tribunal shall consist of—
(a)not less than four nor more than eight other members elected by the Ward Committee from amongst a list of names of persons resident in the ward compiled in the prescribed manner;
(b)a Chairman of the Tribunal appointed by the appropriate authority from among the members elected under paragraph (a).
(2)There shall be a secretary of the Tribunal who shall be appointed by the local government authority in which the ward in question is situated, upon recommendation by the Ward Committee.
(3)The quorum at a sitting of a Tribunal shall be one half of the total number of members.
(4)At any sitting of the Tribunal, a decision of the majority of members present shall be deemed to be the decision of the Tribunal, and in the event of an equality of votes the Chairman shall have a casting vote in addition to his original vote.

5. Qualifications of members

(1)No person shall be entitled to be nominated as a member of a Tribunal if he is—
(a)a member of the National Assembly;
(b)a member of a village council or a Ward Committee;
(c)a civil servant;
(d)a legally qualified person or any person who is employed in the Judiciary;
(e)a person under the apparent age of eighteen years;
(f)a mentally unfit person;
(g)a person who has previously been convicted of a criminal offence involving moral turpitude; or
(h)a person who is not a citizen of the United Republic of Tanzania.
(2)No person shall be recommended as a Secretary of a Tribunal unless he is, in the opinion of the Ward Committee, sufficiently literate and educated and capable of satisfactorily discharging the duties of Secretary.

6. Tenure of office of members

(1)Every member of a Tribunal shall hold office for a term of three years from the date of his election and shall be eligible for re-election.
(2)If a vacancy occurs in the membership of a Tribunal by death, resignation or effluxion of time or any other reasonable cause the appropriate authority shall appoint an appropriate person to fill the vacancy until the date of the next election of members.
(3)Appointment to the office of Secretary shall be permanent in the service of the Local Government Authority within which the Tribunal to which he is appointed to be Secretary is situated.

7. Role of appropriate authority in relation to Tribunal

The appropriate authority in respect of a Tribunal shall be responsible for the general policy regarding the operation of the Tribunal and shall ensure, facilitate and promote the smooth and effective performance by the Tribunal of its functions.

Part III – Jurisdiction, power and procedure (ss 8-19)

8. General jurisdiction

(1)The primary function of each Tribunal shall be to secure peace and harmony in the area for which it is established by mediating and endeavouring to obtain just and amicable settlement of disputes.
(2)In all matters before it relating to a dispute, a Tribunal shall attempt to reach a settlement by mediation before exercising its compulsive jurisdiction as provided under this Act, and may adjourn any proceedings relating to a dispute in which it is exercising that jurisdiction if it thinks that by doing so a just and amicable settlement of the dispute may be reached.
(3)Without prejudice to the generality of subsections (1) and (2), a Tribunal shall have and exercise jurisdiction in relation to all matters and disputes arising under all laws and directives passed by the appropriate authority, and laws and orders for the time being in force in relation to or affecting the business and affairs of the ward made or passed by a local government authority or any other competent legislative authority within the area of the Tribunal's jurisdiction.

9. Particular matters of jurisdiction

(1)Without prejudice to the generality of the jurisdiction conferred on a Tribunal by section 8, a tribunal shall have jurisdiction to enquire into and determine disputes relating to the offences and civil disputes specified in the Schedule to this Act and may impose penalties to the extent specified in that Schedule.
(2)The Minister may, from time to time, by order published in the Gazette, amend, vary or replace any of the provisions of the Schedule to this Act.

10. Pecuniary jurisdiction

(1)Notwithstanding measures imposable by a tribunal under section 17, a tribunal shall, in the exercise of its jurisdiction be limited to the following awards and penalties—
(a)in criminal matters, a fine not exceeding ten thousand shillings;
(b)in default of payment of a fine which does not exceed one thousand shillings, the convicted person shall be committed to work on an on-going communal project for not more than ten days;
(c)in case of default of payment of a fine exceeding one thousand shillings, the matter shall be referred to the Primary Court for committal of the convicted person to prison or any other appropriate action under the law;
(d)in civil matters, awards not exceeding ten thousand shillings.
(2)Subject to section 19, the power to commit persons to imprisonment under this Act shall vest in Primary Courts.

11. Reference of matters to a Tribunal

(1)Proceedings may be instituted by making of a complaint to the secretary of a Tribunal, the Secretary of an appropriate authority, the Chairman of a Village Council or a ten-cell leader.
(2)Any person who reasonably believes that any person has committed an offence may make a complaint about the matter to any of the persons specified in subsection (1).
(3)A complaint may be made orally or in writing, but if made orally shall be reduced in writing by the person to whom it is made and, in either case, shall be signed by the complainant and the person to whom it is made.
(4)When a complaint is made to any person, that person shall, if he is not the Secretary of the Tribunal, cause it to be submitted to the Secretary of the Tribunal who shall enter it in the records of the Tribunal and arrange for it to be heard and determined by the Tribunal in accordance with the procedure of the Tribunal for the hearing and determination of disputes submitted to it.

12. Summons and date of hearing

Subject to the procedure made in that behalf by the appropriate authority, the Secretary shall issue summons to the parties involved in a complaint requiring them to attend before the Tribunal on the date specified in the summons for the complaint to be investigated and determined.

13. Appearance of parties

(1)On the date specified in the summons the parties shall, subject to subsection (3), appear in person before the Tribunal, give their evidence and answer all questions put to them by any member of the Tribunal.
(2)If on the date specified in the summons the complainant does not without reasonable cause, appear, the Tribunal shall dismiss the complaint and it shall not subsequently be brought before it; but if the Tribunal considers that the absence of the complainant is due to a reasonable cause or if the person complained against is absent, the Tribunal shall adjourn the hearing to some date which it may specify, and inform the appropriate authority of the absence of the person complained against.
(3)Where the complainant or the person complained against is a child below eighteen years of age, or is a person who for any sufficient cause cannot adequately put his case or defend himself, that person may appear before the Tribunal together with his parent, guardian, relative or friend who may, subject to the procedure adopted by the Tribunal, assist him in the examination or cross examination of witnesses or the making of submissions before the Tribunal.

14. Proceedings to be in public

All proceedings before a Tribunal shall be open to the public unless, in the opinion of the Tribunal, it is in the public interest that the public or any person be excluded from any part of the proceedings.

15. Proceedings before Tribunal

(1)The Tribunal shall not be bound by any rules of evidence or procedure applicable to any court.
(2)A Tribunal shall, subject to the provisions of this Act, regulate its own procedure.
(3)In the exercise of its functions under this Act a Tribunal shall have power to hear statements of witnesses produced by parties to a complaint, and to examine any relevant document produced by any party.

16. Tribunal to pursue principles of justice

(1)Notwithstanding the provisions of section 15, a Tribunal shall in all proceedings seek to do justice to the parties and to reach a decision which will secure the peaceful and amicable resolution of the dispute, reconciliation of the parties and the furtherance of the social and economic interests of the village or ward as a whole in which the dispute originates.
(2)For the purposes of securing a just determination of a complaint, the Tribunal shall not make a decision on any complaint unless —
(a)it has given an equal opportunity to each party to explain his part of the matter and to present his witnesses; and
(b)any member of the Tribunal having any personal or financial interest in the complaint has disclosed it and not taken part in the proceedings.

17. Measures imposable by Tribunal

At the conclusion of the proceedings the Tribunal may order that—
(a)the party at fault apologise to the other party;
(b)a person be censured or admonished at a meeting of the Village Assembly or Ward meeting;
(c)the party at fault pay a specified fine not exceeding a certain amount prescribed by the appropriate or other legislative authority;
(d)one party pay back what is due to the other party;
(e)the defaulting party do some specific community work;
(f)the defaulting party pay compensation;
(g)the defaulting party carry out any other sanction acceptable in the village or ward concerned; or
(h)the parties perform any customary act or acts which signify reconciliation.

18. Enforcement of measures of Tribunal

(1)The appropriate authority shall devise an appropriate system for facilitating and securing the proper and full performance of the measures imposed and orders made by the Tribunal at the conclusion of the proceedings in relation to any matter referred to it.
(2)A person who fails, without reasonable cause (the burden of proof of which is on him), to obey any order of the Tribunal under this Act for which no other penalty is prescribed shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable, on conviction to a fine not exceeding two thousand shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two months or to both that fine and imprisonment.

19. Order of imprisonment and its endorsement

(1)An order of a Tribunal for imprisonment under this Act shall be in the prescribed form and, pending endorsement of the order under subsection (2), the convicted person shall be held in such custody, or shall be released on such terms, as may be ordered by the Tribunal.
(2)Subject to subsection (3), an order of imprisonment under this Act shall have no force or effect unless endorsed by the Primary Court Magistrate for the area in which the Tribunal is established.
(3)The Tribunal after making an order for imprisonment shall immediately cause it to be presented to the Primary Court Magistrate for endorsement.
(4)The Primary Court Magistrate to whom the order is presented for endorsement, shall endorse the order without delay, unless he has reason to believe that the Tribunal acted without jurisdiction or in excess of its powers.
(5)If the Primary Court Magistrate is convinced that the Tribunal has acted without jurisdiction or in excess of its powers, he shall exercise the power of revision provided for under section 21.
(6)The endorsed order under this section shall have the same effect as any sentence of imprisonment imposed by a Primary Court under any other written law.
(7)Where the order remitted to the Primary Court under subsection (3) is beyond the pecuniary jurisdiction of the Primary Court the Magistrate shall immediately refer the same to the higher court of appropriate jurisdiction in accordance with the provisions of the Magistrates' Courts Act7.7Cap. 11

Part IV – Miscellaneous provisions (ss 20-30)

20. Appeals from decisions of Tribunal

(1)Subject to subsection (2), a person aggrieved by a decision of a Tribunal may within sixty days appeal in writing to a Primary Court.
(2)Except with the leave of the Primary Court, no appeal shall be entertained under the following circumstances—
(a)in criminal cases in which the fine imposed does not exceed five hundred shillings;
(b)in civil matters where the award does not exceed eight hundred shillings.
(3)Except on points of law where the final appeal lies to the District Court, decision of a Primary Court on any appeal made to it shall be final and conclusive.

21. Review and revisional jurisdiction of the Primary Court

(1)A Primary Court may call for and examine the record of any proceedings of a Tribunal, for the purpose of satisfying itself as to whether in such proceedings the Tribunal's decision—
(a)does not contravene any Act of Parliament, or subsidiary legislation;
(b)does not conflict with the rules of natural justice; and
(c)was made by such Tribunal when it was properly constituted or without excess of jurisdiction,
and may revise any such proceedings.
(2)In the exercise of its revisional jurisdiction, a Primary Court has power to substitute conviction and sentence for an acquittal, to quash the proceedings and to order a rehearing.
(3)In the case of civil matters, the revisional jurisdiction of a Primary Court shall be restricted to increasing any sum awarded or altering the rights of any party to his detriment.
(4)No proceedings under this section shall be revised after the expiration of twelve months from the conclusion of such proceedings in the Tribunal.

22. Hearing of appeals and exercise of revisional jurisdiction

(1)In the hearing of an appeal against any decision of a Tribunal the Primary Court Magistrate shall sit with not less than two assessors.
(2)The Primary Court in dealing with appeals against any decision of the Tribunal shall—
(a)consider the records relevant to the decision; and
(b)receive such evidence, if any, and make such inquiries as it may deem necessary.
(3)A party to any proceeding appealed against or under revision, may appear—
(a)personally; or
(b)by representative (other than a lawyer).

23. Decision on appeals or revision

(1)A Primary Court hearing an appeal against or making a review of a decision of the Tribunal may—
(a)confirm the decision;
(b)quash the decision; or
(c)order the matter to be dealt with again by the Tribunal,
and may, if it deems appropriate, give an order or direction as to how any defect in the earlier decision may be rectified.
(2)A Primary Court Magistrate hearing an appeal or making a revision shall—
(a)record the decision of the court on the appeal or revision and the reasons thereof; and
(b)forward it to the District Court.
(3)The District Court may apply its revisional jurisdiction under the Magistrates' Courts Act8, in respect of any appeal or revision recorded by a Primary Court Magistrate under subsection (2).8Cap. 11

23A. Jurisdiction on land matters

The provisions of sections 20, 21, 22 and 23 shall not apply to the word Tribunal in the exercise of its jurisdiction in any matter relating to land.

24. Records of Tribunal

(1)A Tribunal shall cause to be kept and maintained proper records of its proceedings in appropriate form.
(2)The Secretary of a Tribunal shall be responsible for recording all the evidence adduced and other matters formally transpiring during the proceedings before the Tribunal and all other matters in connection with it.
(3)The records of the Tribunal shall be deemed to be records of the Ward Committee and shall, for that purpose, be public records.

25. Inspection of Tribunals

(1)The Minister shall, after consultation with the Minister for the time being responsible for regional administration, by notice published in the Gazette, make provisions for a system of inspection of Tribunals and instruction of local government authorities and Ward Committees for the purposes of ensuring the furtherance of the purposes and objects of this Act.
(2)The Minister may, in the notice under subsection (1) appoint such persons or authorities as he may think fit for the purposes of this section.

26. Public education of officers, etc.

The Minister shall, in co-operation with any other Minister, Ministry, Department or other public authority formulate suitable programmes, schemes and seminars for the information and education of the public and the officers and members of Tribunals on the methods of performing the functions of the Tribunals, for the purposes of ensuring their efficient and just operation.

27. Remuneration of members

The members of a Tribunal shall be paid such sitting or other allowance as the appropriate authority may, in collaboration with the Ward Committees, determine.

28. Offences

Any person who—
(a)wilfully or without reasonable cause fails or refuses to attend before a Tribunal in response to a summons served on him;
(b)having attended, refuses or fails to answer any question put to him by any member;
(c)does any act or thing which obstructs the proper functioning of a Tribunal or impedes any officer of the Tribunal or other person authorised by the Tribunal in the performance of its functions,
is guilty of the offence of contempt of the Tribunal and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding eight hundred shillings or be required to perform some specific community work or to both the fine and the requirement to perform the community work.

29. Directions by the Minister

(1)The Minister may, from time to time, give directions to the appropriate authorities in connection with operations of Tribunals including prescribing matters required to be prescribed under this Act, and all authorities and persons concerned shall carry out or comply with all those directions and prescriptions.
(2)The Minister shall cause to be published all directions and prescriptions under this section in such manner as he deems appropriate, including publication in the Gazette.

30. Revocations

The Arbitration Tribunals Regulations, 1969, and the Swahili equivalent of those Regulations entitled "Kanuni Kuhusu Mabaraza ya Usuluhushi" and the Marriage Conciliation Board (Establishment) Order, 1971 are hereby revoked.

Schedule (Section 9)

Part I – Offences and penalties under the Penal Code

OffenceSectionMaximum penalty
Going armed in publics. 84Fine of Shs. 800/- or 2 years imprisonment.
Forcible detainers. 86Fine of Shs. 800/- or 2 years imprisonment.
Affrays. 87Fine of Shs. 500/- or imprisonment for 6 months.
Challenge to fight a duels. 88Fine of Shs. 800/- or 2 years imprisonment.
Using abusive language and brawlings. 89(1)Fine of Shs. 500/- or imprisonment for 6 months.
Threatening with violences. 89(2)Fine of Shs. 400/- or imprisonment for 1 year.
Dissuading persons from participating in self-help schemes. 89CFine of Shs. 1,000/- or imprisonment for 6 months.
Disturbing religious assemblys. 126Fine of Shs. 1,000/- or 2 years imprisonment.
Abduction of girls under 16 yearss. 134Fine of Shs. 1,000/- or 2 years imprisonment.
Insulting the modesty of a womans. 135(3)Fine of Shs. 800/- or imprisonment for 1 year.
Desertion of childrens. 166Fine of Shs. 1,000/- or 2 years imprisonment.
Neglecting to provide foods. 167Fine of Shs. 400/- or 2 etc. for children years imprisonment.
Idle and disorderly personss. 176(b), (c) & (i)Fine of Shs. 500/- or (certain offences only) imprisonment for 3 months.
Wearing uniform without authoritys. 178(1)Fine of Shs. 200/- or imprisonment for 1 month.
Bringing contempt on uniforms. 178(2)Fine of Shs. 400/- or imprisonment for 3 months.
Fouling waters. 185Fine of Shs. 2,000/- or 2 years imprisonment.
Common assaults. 240Fine of Shs. 1,000/- or imprisonment for one year.
Omitting to take precautions against probable danger from any animal in one's possessions. 233(d)Fine of Shs. 1,500/- or 2 years imprisonment.
Attempting suicides. 217Fine of Shs. 300/- or 6 months imprisonment.
Concealing the birth of a childs. 218Fine of Shs. 1,000/- or 2 years imprisonment.
Other negligent acts causing harm not specified in s. 233s. 234Fine of Shs. 1,000/- or imprisonment for 6 months.
Criminal trespasss. 299Fine of Shs. 800/- or imprisonment for 1 year.

Part II – Offences and penalties under other laws

OffenceSectionMaximum penalty
Gambling (gaming) under the Prevention of Gambling Act (Cap. 19)s. 3Fine of Shs. 1,000/- or imprisonment for 1 month.
Under the Tsetse Fly (Control) Act (Cap. 100) (contravening regulations) Fine of Shs. 200/- or imprisonment for 1 month.
Contravening of by-laws made by a village council or Town, District or Municipal Council which relate to agricultural, educational and health matters The sanction provided by the by-laws concerned.
Smoking noxious plants (bhang) Fine of Shs. 2,000/- or (Cap. 95) imprisonment for 12 months.
Failure to enrol or send to school an enrolled child under the Public Primary Schools (Compulsory Enrolment and Attendance) Order, 1977 (Cap. 353) The First Offenders:wholeOrder Fine of Shs. 100/- or imprisonment for 1 month.Second Offenders:Fine of Shs. 500/- or imprisonment for 2 months.Subsequently:Imprisonment for 6 months.

Part III – Civil jurisdiction

(1)Minor disputes relating to dowry and all disputes relating to land.
(2)All functions of Marriage Reconciliation Boards vested in the existing Arbitration Tribunals in terms of Government Notice No. 108 of 1971 under the Law of Marriage Act9.9Cap. 29
(4)Any other matter referred to a Tribunal by the disputing parties for reconciliation.
(5)Any other matter which a Minister for Justice may by order published in the Gazette add to this Schedule.
In the exercise of its jurisdiction in a matter governed by customary law, a Tribunal shall apply the customary law prevailing within any village or ward as the case may be.
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History of this document

31 July 2002 this version
01 July 1988

Documents citing this one 21

Judgment 19
  1. Abas Samwel vs Julietha Samwel (Land Appeal 1 of 2022) [2023] TZHC 16657 (8 February 2023)
  2. Anyigulile Mwailomo vs Osia Mwambuluma (Misc. Land Appeal No. 32 of 2013) [2015] TZHC 2232 (11 August 2015)
  3. Balthazary Kinasha vs Paula Bernad Nindi (Misc. Land Appeal 69 of 2020) [2021] TZHCLandD 6 (22 February 2021)
  4. Deogratius Joseph vs Petronida Kataraiha (Misc. Land Appeal 82 of 2016) [2018] TZHC 2678 (31 August 2018)
  5. Dorina N. Mkumwa vs Edwin David Hamis (Civil Appeal 53 of 2017) [2018] TZCA 221 (10 October 2018)
  6. George Kitinda Mwakasitu vs Temeke Municipal (Labour Revision No. 946 of 2018) [2020] TZHCLD 192 (19 June 2020)
  7. Hemedi Mohamed vs Sala Taodori (Misc. Land Appeal 104 of 2008) [2012] TZHCLandD 136 (4 September 2012)
  8. Hosea Paterson Kajange vs Justina Mmary Mmbando (Civil Appeal 238 of 2021) [2022] TZHC 9523 (6 May 2022)
  9. Joel Deemay vs Kristiani Gwandu (Land Appeal 40 of 2022) [2023] TZHC 16928 (27 April 2023)
  10. Judith Simon Tarimo vs Novat Boniface Kimario (PC Civil Appeal 11 of 2021) [2021] TZHC 6155 (31 August 2021)
  11. Lekalai Aladala vs Ngalai Aladala and Another (Misc. Land Appeal 19 of 2020) [2022] TZHC 9544 (20 May 2022)
  12. Moshi Salum vs Juma Mkombozi (Civil Appeal 135 of 2003) [2008] TZHC 211 (26 February 2008)
  13. Mwinyi Amani Pili vs Kudra Burhani Mlosi (PC Civil Appeal 4 of 2008) [2009] TZHC 156 (27 August 2009)
  14. Salum vs Mkombozi (PC Civil Appeal 135 of 2003) [2007] TZHC 4 (26 February 2007)
  15. Shaban Said vs Bahati Mohamed (Land Appeal 116 of 2021) [2022] TZHCLandD 420 (12 May 2022)
  16. Silverius Komba vs Leonard Nkana (Misc. Land Aplication 19 of 2020) [2022] TZHC 133 (20 January 2022)
  17. Sumaida byai vs Revina France (Misc. Land Case Appeal 65 of 2018) [2020] TZHC 3270 (16 October 2020)
  18. Victory Yotam Kihaga vs Gidion Ilomo (Land Appeal 24 of 2021) [2022] TZHC 11126 (10 May 2022)
  19. Zakaria Giriago Mwita vs Parokia Ya Rogoro (Father Anord) (Misc. Land Appeal 41 of 2021) [2021] TZHC 6333 (27 September 2021)
Law Reform Report 2
  1. Report of the Commission on Law of Marriage Act, 1971 (No.5 of 1971}
  2. Report of the Commission on the Problem of Congestion in Prisons