Maintenance of ‘illegitimate children’ in Tanzania: A right or rhetoric? A review of the Affiliation Ordinance Chapter 278
This paper examines the efficacy of the law providing for maintenance of non-marital children in Tanzania. It looks into the Affiliation Ordinance of 1949 and reveals its limitations in providing for maintenance of non-marital children. It demonstrates that the law is archaic and provides for inadequate maintenance to non-marital children. The paper discusses several limitations in the administration of justice by courts that adversely impacts on provision of maintenance to non-marital children. It shows that the operation of the law does not conform to provisions of the Constitution of Tanzania nor to various international human rights instruments guaranteeing the rights of the child which the country has ratified.
The paper points out some factors such as the government’s lack of political will, socio-religious prejudices and ineffectual operation of non-governmental organizations in advocating for the rights of women and children, which account for the subordinate position of non-marital children and their mothers. The paper recommends that the government repeal the ordinance and enact new legislation providing for the rights which are similar to those contained in the international human rights instruments guaranteeing rights of the child. It is also recommended that the courts be provided with adequate resources to enable them to handle cases effectively and efficiently. The report recommends further that non-governmental organizations should re-think their role vis-a-vis protection of the rights of women and children, including non-marital children.