Hussein Mwinyi, the President of Tanzania’s semi-autonomous islands of Zanzibar and Chairman of the Revolutionary Council, has announced the country’s flag would fly at half-mast following the death of first Vice-President Seif Sharif Hamad from coronavirus (COVID-19) complications.
Hamad, 77, had recently tested positive for coronavirus and admitted to hospital. He died on Wednesday while undergoing treatment at Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam where he was admitted on February 9, 2021.
Local reports say he is very likely to be buried on Thursday.
President Mwinyi has also declared seven days of national mourning.
Meanwhile, President John Magufuli of Tanzania, who has refused to order vaccines for his country has sent condolences to the President and the people of Zanzibar on the death of the ACT-Wazalendo party Chairman.
Hamad, popularly known as Maalim Seif, was a giant figure in opposition politics in Zanzibar – and Tanzania in general. He joined a government of national unity in Zanzibar following last October’s elections.
He was the most prominent official in Tanzania to openly declare that he had contracted Covid-19.
Tanzanian authorities have repeatedly declared that the country has won the war against COVID-19 and stopped publishing official Covid-19 data in June last year.