Court name
High Court of Tanzania

Charles Aoko vs Dorina Gibonga () [1988] TZHC 9 (01 May 1988);

Law report citations
1988 TLR 44 (TZHC)
Media neutral citation
[1988] TZHC 9

  H Sekule, J. The appellant and the respondent were husband and wife. They got married in 1982. They appear to have had four years of happy and peaceful married life. In 1987 the situation changed to the extent that the respondent instituted proceedings in the Shirati Primary Court, Civil Case No. 130 of 1987 seeking divorce.
  I It was the respondent's case at the trial that from 1982 - 1985

they lived peacefully. However sometime in 1986, the appellant started beating her daily  A and telling her to go back to her parents as she was barren. Their marriage had not by that time been blessed with a child. She contended that she reported these happenings to her parents but they did not take her complaints seriously. In February, 1987 she was  B beaten again by the appellant because of money that she had been given by the appellant to keep. The appellant wanted the money and while she was still looking for it in their house she was beaten. After the incident she absconded from the home and went to her relative at Mgango in Musoma. The appellant followed her and brought her back. Her  C father convened a family council to discuss their problems. She had also alleged that the appellant was threatening to kill her. The family council discussed their problems and it resolved that the respondent should go back to her marriage. She was not satisfied with this decision, she therefore took the matter to a marriage reconciliation board. The board after hearing and considering their problems, it also advised her to go back to her  D marriage. She was again not happy with the decision and she proceeded to court.
She called three witnesses at the trial to support her case. One of them was one Omwasi Okoro - the chairman of the marriage reconciliation board and another one was her own  E father.
The chairman of the marriage reconciliation board testified to the effect they dealt with the parties' problems. That the respondent alleged before them that the appellant was threatening to kill her. An allegation which the appellant denied and she tendered no  F evidence to substantiate it. Apart from this allegation, the respondent said they had one other quarrel. It was further his evidence that after they had considered the matter, they advised the respondent to go back to her marriage because they saw that only one  G incident had been established. This is what the witness said in response to a question put to him by a second assessor:
   Mimi ni mwenyekiti wa Baraza la Usuluhishi. Mdaiwa alikuwa hana makosa na tuliona ni kosa la siku moja. H
Her father testified that the respondent was beaten on two occasions. On the first occasion she was beaten because of money. And on the second occasion it was because she had refused to boil some medicine for the appellant. The appellant was sick. They  I too advised her to go back to her marriage. The appellant on his part stated in his testimony at the trial that they had a peaceful marriage for about

  A 41/2 years and then the respondent started to be unfaithful to the marriage. He spoke to her about this conduct but that he never beat her for the sake of protecting the marriage. He however, stated that they had two quarrels at the beginning of 1987. One quarrel concerned appellant's money shs. 1,800/=. The appellant contended that the respondent   B had hid or stolen that money. The second quarrel concerned the respondent's refusal to boil some medicine for him when he was sick. He further said that he still loved his wife and that though the respondent had had occasion to do wrong things to him he was prepared to forgive. The appellant too called witnesses to support his case. The   C substance of their testimony was that they had not seen or heard frequent quarrels between these two people in the course of their marriage prior to the events that gave rise to this case.
  D At the end of the case, the trial court found that the appellant had beaten the respondent twice, on the first occasion it was because of the money and on the second occasion it was because of her refusal to boil medicine for the appellant. And that this conduct was wrong and an offence on the part of the appellant under section 66 of the Marriage Act 1971 which forbids the infliction of corporal punishment on one's spouse.   E The trial court further held that the appellant must have threatened to kill the respondent for otherwise how could she have absconded to Mgango.
The court was therefore of the view that the respondent had proved her case and granted   F her prayer. In concluding the case the trial court observed as follows:
   Kwa hali hiyo ya vituko ambavyo mdai anatendewa na mdaiwa chini ya fungu 107 (2) (c) la Sheria ya Ndoa 5/71 vya kumpiga na kumlalamikia kila mara ni msherati na kumtishia ni   G vitendo vya kuvunja ndoa. Hivyo nakubaliana na washauri kuwa ndoa ya wadaawa haiwezi kushamili kama awali inavunjwa.
The appellant was aggrieved and unsuccessfully appealed to the District Court of Tarime   H District. In dismissing the appellant's appeal, the appellate District Court held that as the parties were trading blames against each other and since the marriage reconciliation board had failed to reconcile them, then the five years childless marriage was broken down and it accordingly confirmed the divorce granted to the respondent under section   I 107 (3) (b) of the Marriage Act, 1971.
The appellant is not challenging this decision before this court.

Both parties appeared in person at the hearing of this appeal. The appellant essentially  A reiterated what he had stated in his petition of appeal and concluded that in his view the marriage was not irreparably broken down.
On the other hand the respondent admitted that both the family council and the marriage reconciliation Board had advised her to go back to the marriage and that she did not  B agree with their opinion because the appellant used to beat her.
The crucial issue for determination is, was this marriage irreparably broken. I have carefully examined and considered the evidence tendered by both parties, at the trial and on this evidence, I am far from being satisfied that this marriage was or is irreparably  C broken down.
From the trial record, only two incidents are borne out, by the evidence that is, the quarrels between the parties over the issue of the money and the respondent's refusal to boil some medicine for the appellant.  D
The allegation that the appellant threatened to kill the respondent was not supported by any evidence. The inference drawn by the trial court that the respondent must have been so threatened for otherwise why did she abscond to Mgango was in my view without  E basis. Going by her own testimony her departure to Mgango seems to have been prompted by the quarrel they had over the issue of money. There was also no evidence from the record to the effect that the appellant constantly complained or accused her of being unfaithful to the marriage. As a matter of fact the respondent herself never  F complained or raised this issue in her testimony. It was raised by the appellant himself in an attempt to explain the causes of the problems the marriage started to face after the peaceful era. He stated that the respondent started to be unfaithful and he talked to her over that issue and that he never beat her over it.  G
In my view the two incidents that are established by the evidence on record to have happened, cannot be said to have been clear indication that this marriage was irreparably broken. They were in my opinion the usual wear and tear of married life. They did not also amount to cruelty in terms of section 107(2)(c) of the Marriage Act 1971 - the basis  H of the trial court's decision. Also and with respect, I am of the view that the facts of this case did not come within the purview of section 107(3)(b) of the Marriage Act, 1971 as the appellate District Court held.
Like the family council and the Marriage Reconciliation   I

  A Board, on the evidence on record, I am not satisfied that this marriage was irreparably broken down.
The appeal is allowed, the orders of the trial court and the appellate District Court of granting divorce to the respondent are hereby quashed.
  B The parties to bear their respective costs.
Appeal allowed.

C