Court name
High Court of Tanzania

Robert Aranjo vs Zena Mwijuma () [1985] TZHC 5 (14 March 1985);

Law report citations
1984 TLR 7 (TZHC)
Media neutral citation
[1985] TZHC 5

Maina, J.: This is a second appeal by Robert Aranjo. He had petitioned for divorce at the Kilosa Urban Primary Court against Zena Mwijuma who was then his wife. The Primary Court granted the  E divorce and also ordered that the appellant should pay his former wife, the respondent, the sum of Shs 70,819/50, being one quarter of the matrimonial assets acquired during the subsistence of the marriage. The appellant filed an appeal in the District Court, and after full hearing the appeal was dismissed.
The appeal before this court is not against the dissolution of the marriage but it is against the order  F giving the wife one quarter of the matrimonial assets. The ground for this complaint is that, according to the appellant, the marriage was dissolved due to the wife's desertion and not on appellant's cruelty as held by the District Court. The appellant also claims that the respondent did not contribute anything in the acquiring of those assets. One thing, however, was beyond dispute.  G All the assets were acquired during the subsistence of the marriage.
Let me point out that the order for division of matrimonial assets was made under section 114 of the Law of Marriage Act, 1971. The court has powers, when granting a decree of divorce or separation,  H to make an order for division of matrimonial assets acquired during the marriage by the joint efforts of the parties. The appellant claimed that all the assets were acquired in his own name.
But they were acquired after he was married to the respondent during subsistence of the marriage.  I The respondent was a housewife. The

  A appellant said he acquired those assets through his own efforts. There has been a lot of dispute as to whether the domestic work done by a housewife should count in the acquisition of matrimonial assets. That
  B dispute was settled by the Court of Appeal in the case of Bi Hawa Mohamed v Ally Sefu in Civil Appeal No. 9 of 1983. In that case, the Court of Appeal held that the contribution of a spouse to the welfare of the family should be considered as contribution to the acquisition of matrimonial assets. In this case, while the respondent looked after the house and the welfare of the seven children of the marriage apart from other household chores like cooking, the appellant was able to run his business   C and acquire the assets. All the assets were therefore acquired by the joint efforts of the parties. The respondent was entitled to a share.
The appellant further argued that the District Court should have held that the marriage was   D dissolved due to the respondent's desertion and not due to the appellant's cruelty. There was evidence that the respondent left the matrimonial home due to the acts of the appellant and those acts were held to amount to cruelty. Be that as it may, the marriage had broken down irreparably and it had to be dissolved. There is no dispute about that. Now, whether the appellant was guilty of   E cruelty or the respondent was guilty of desertion, it makes no difference as regards division of matrimonial assets. Section 114 of the Law of Marriage Act does not make a distinction for the   F purpose of division of matrimonial assets between an innocent and guilty party. There is no provision in the Law of Marriage Act requiring the court to consider to what extent a party has contributed to the breakdown of the marriage for the purpose of division of matrimonial assets.
There was ample evidence upon which the lower courts held that the value of the matrimonial assets   G was Shs. 282,474. The lower courts considered and gave good reasons for awarding the respondent one quarter of the value of those assets, that is, Shs. 70,818.50. The respondent was not only doing domestic work. She even had assisted in the appellant's bakery business. The marriage had lasted for many years, from 1968 till 1982 when it was dissolved. There were seven children of   H the marriage, all living with the appellant. All these were relevant factors. I cannot say that the lower courts erred in awarding the respondent one-quarter of the matrimonial assets. In the result, this appeal is dismissed with costs.
I Appeal dismissed.