Seif Sharif Hamad, a heavyweight in the struggle for political and democratic reforms in Tanzania, has died at the age of 77.
Before his death, Mr Hamad was serving as the First Vice President in the Government of National Unity of Zanzibar.
He was also the serving national chairperson for the opposition ACT-Wazalendo party.
President of Zanzibar Dr Hussein Mwinyi announced the passing of Mr Hamad today, Wednesday, 17 February 21, through the Zanzibar’s state broadcaster Zanzibar Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC).
“At 11:30 am, the First Vice President of Zanzibar Maalim Seif Sharif Hamad had passed away,” announced Dr Mwinyi, adding: “Maalim died while undergoing treatment at the Muhumbili [National] Hospital where he has been bedridden since February 9, this year.”
Dr Mwinyi said that Tanzania has lost a “patriotic and strong leader,” announcing seven days of mourning with national flags flying at half-mast.
Dr Mwinyi said that more details on the passing of Mr Hamad, including details on burial, will continue to be released by the government in cooperation with Mr Hamad’s family and ACT-Wazalendo party.
President John Magufuli is one among those who were quick to react to the death of Mr Hamad who was ACT-Wazalendo presidential candidate election for Zanzibar in the October 28th election in 2020.
In a Twitter post, President Magufuli said: “I have sadly received the news of the death of Hon. Maalim Seif Sharif Hamad, former First Vice President of Zanzibar. I send my condolences to the President of Zanzibar Hon. Dr Mwinyi, [Mr Hamad’s] family, Zanzibaris, ACT-Wazalendo members and all Tanzanians. May God rest his soul in peace, Amen.”
Other people who have reacted to the passing of Mr Hamad include members from the diplomatic community in the country, with the UK High Commissioner to Tanzania Mr David Concar describing Mr Hamad as “a giant of Zanzibar politics.”
“Saddened by the news of the death of Maalim Seif Sharif Hamad, a giant of Zanzibar politics who will be greatly missed,” Mr Concar said in a Twitter post. “He leaves a towering legacy of service, commitment and passion for improving lives. My condolences to his family and the people of Zanzibar.”