Jus Soli or Jus Sanguinis? Diagnosing Letters of Law and Official Interpretation of Tanzanian Citizenship by Birth


  • Clement Bernardo Mubanga Open University of Tanzania


This article examines the controversy underlying
interpretation of the letters of law on what constitutes
Tanzanian citizenship by birth, particularly after
independence. The centre of controversy lies in the choice
of the two basic modes of attainment of citizenship by birth,
namely jus soli (right of soil or birth right citizenship without
the condition of citizenship of parents) and jus sanguinis
(right of blood or citizenship conditioned on parents '
citizenship status).Some secondary sources say the letters
of law are jus soli based while official interpretation on the
ground says they are jus sanguinis based. So far, there is
no judicial interpretation of the convoluted letters of law
under the Tanzania Citizenship Act Cap 357 R.E 2002. It is
argued that the letters of law under the Tanzania Citizenship
Act reflect the jus soli mode. The article proposes for
amendment of the disputed provisions to align with what is
actually obtainable on ground.

Key words: jus soli, jus sanguinis, citizenship by birth, letters of