Court name
High Court of Tanzania

Iddi Ibrahim vs Amri Shabani () [1989] TZHC 19 (23 May 1989);

Law report citations
1989 TLR 89 (TZHC)
Media neutral citation
[1989] TZHC 19

Samatta, J.: This is an appeal from a decision of the District Court of Iramba affirming the decision of the Primary Court of Nduguti whereby a claim by the respondent for recovery of possession of a six-acre farm was allowed. F
I have reached the settled conclusion, having given the matter anxious and, I hope, careful consideration, that the decisions of the two courts below cannot be allowed to stand. The respondent's case was simply this. Some years prior to 1979 his elder G brother, Chandewa Kititi, permitted the appellant to use his (Chandewa's) six-acre farm for cultivation purposes. In l979, following the death of Chandewa, he became or was appointed administrator of the deceased's estate. Eventually, the six-acre farm was inherited by the deceased's daughter known as Gole Shukia. When called upon to give H possession of the farm to the woman, the appellant refused to do so, asserting that the farm was his property. The respondent reacted to that refusal by instituting the proceedings which have given rise to the appeal now before me. The appellant's answer to the suit was that the six-acre farm was his property, having developed the land I himself.

The appellant has invited me to determine the appeal on its merits, but I am clearly of A opinion that it is not possible in law to do so. Why am I of that opinion? That I will tell. The evidence adduced by the respondent clearly reveals that when the suit was instituted in the Primary Court the farm in question had already been inherited by Gole Shukia, B who in l983 was, according to the record of the case, aged 30. It must be correct to say that, as far as the farm is concerned, the office of administrator, which the respondent assumed on the death of his elder brother, came to an end when the estate in the farm descended to Gole Shukia. If Gole wished to acquire possession of the farm, then she C herself should have instituted the proceedings. His office of administrator of the deceased's estate having come to an end, the respondent ceased to have locus standi in the matter. It would appear that the respondent instituted the proceedings in his own name because he entertained the view that, being a female, Gole lacked legal capacity to D institute proceedings before a court of law. Nothing is further from the truth than that notion. Whatever the position might have been in the past, now the general rule of law (and it is obvious justice) is that any female who has attained, in terms of s. 2 of the Age E of Majority Ordinance (Chapter 431), full age has the right to institute proceedings in a court of law in her own name or individual capacity unassisted. The notion that a woman can institute legal proceedings only through her father or other male relative is a notion of the past, which our law now rejects as being entirely erroneous. It is an Fincontrovertible proposition of law that a woman does not need a guardian to assist her in institution or prosecuting a suit in a court of law. Once she reaches the age of majority, a female, like a male, ceases to be a minor and can sue or be sued in her own name. The law treats her as having full legal capacity. A woman in this country can now stand up and loudly say: G
I am a major and have the undeniable right to personally look after my legal interests. I need no guardian.
And, lawyers would nod to signify their assent. H
The appeal is allowed, the decision of both courts below are set aside. The respondent (Amri Shabani) will pay the appellant's costs in the two courts and this court. For the I avoidance of doubt, it must be stated that Gole Shukia is at liberty in law to institute civil

proceedings against the appellant for the recovery of possession of the six-acre farm. A
Appeal allowed.

B
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