Prior to June 2019, some non-governmental organizations in Mainland Tanzania were established as companies limited by guarantee under the Companies Act, 2002 (Companies Act). This guaranteed their existence because it was harder to de-register a company than it was to de-register a non-governmental organization established under the Non-Governmental Organizations Act, 2002 (NGOs Act). So, in June 2019 that guarantee came to an end. Through the Written Law Miscellaneous Amendment, No. 3 Act of 2019 (Act No. 3 of 2019), all companies established under the Companies Act had to do business and those that were previously established as not for profit organizations were given a grace period to do fresh registration under the NGOs Act. Some companies established as non-profit organizations complied with the requirements of Act No. 3 of 2019, but the Center for Strategic Litigation and some few other companies did not.
Center for Strategic Litigation (CSL) and Change Tanzania, being organizations established under the Companies Act, approached the High Court of Tanzania (constitutional court) to challenge the constitutionality of the provisions of the new law for it violated, among other things, freedom of association and the right to enjoy fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, 1977 as amended.
This case was heard on merit and was unfortunately dismissed for being frivolous and vexatious, and that the petitioners failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, the violation of the constitution as stated in the issues.
CSL and Change Tanzania were aggrieved by the decision of the constitutional court and have preferred an appeal before the Court of Appeal of Tanzania challenging that decision. The appeal is yet to be heard.