Stone Town, Tanzania, Feb 17 – Zanzibar’s first vice president Seif Sharif Hamad, who led the island’s opposition for three decades, died Wednesday, the president said, after he had been hospitalised for over three weeks with coronavirus.
Tanzania and its semi-autonomous island Zanzibar have played down the threat of of the virus, which President John Magufuli has said has been fended off by prayer.
However Hamad’s ACT-Wazalendo party announced in January that the 77-year-old had been hospitalised with the virus.
“Hamad died this morning at Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam where he was hospitalised,” Zanzibar president Ali Hassan Mwinyi said in a short speech broadcast by state-run ZBC television.
“The nation has really lost a patriotic leader. I also declare seven days of mourning and the national flag will fly half-mast during.”
Magufuli also expressed his condolences in a message on Twitter.
Neither leader mentioned the cause of death.