Court name
High Court of Tanzania

Selemani  Ramadhani vs Ally Juma () [1985] TZHC 37 (23 November 1985);

Law report citations
1984 TLR 49 (TZHC)
Media neutral citation
[1985] TZHC 37
Lugakingira, J.

Lugakingira, J.: In Criminal Case No. 33/83 of the Primary Court at Mtinko in Singida district, the respondent Ally Juma was prosecuted for shop breaking and stealing. The appellant Selemani  E Ramadhani was the complainant in that case. The respondent was acquitted. Thereafter he sued the appellant in the same court for defamation claiming 20,000/= in general damages and 1,600/= in special damages, the latter being his alleged costs in the court of the criminal proceeding. The action was allowed and the respondent was awarded, 3,600/= in general and special damages. This is the  F second appeal following the appellant's unsuccessful appeal to the District Court.
Unfortunately, I cannot go into the merits of the appeal seeing, as I do, that the Primary Court had not jurisdiction in the matter. In civil proceedings the jurisdiction of a primary court arises, inter alia,  G where the suit is founded in customary law. The instant suit was in fact that of malicious prosecution which is a common law tort. Criminal prosecution, as a machinery for determining guilt or innocence, is a procedure without equivalent in customary practice, but is wholly derived from statute. The tort of malicious prosecution is thus an alien concept which does not find expression in  H customary jurisprudence. I am therefore of the view, which view is also to be found in Faniel v Konyak [1971] HCD n.323, that the Primary  Court was incompetent to try the suit. This incompetence did not only arise from the point of view of jurisdiction, but was also manifested in the  I very handling of the suit. The court never considered whether

  A there was reasonable and probable cause for the prosecution and never heard evidence in support of the special damages. In short the suit was virtually untried.
The proceeding is accordingly quashed. The respondent is at liberty to institute the suit in the   B Resident Magistrate's court. I make no order as to costs.
Order accordingly.