Maalim Seif Sharif Hamad, vice president of the Tanzanian Autonomous Archipelago of Zanzibar, died Wednesday aged 77 from Covid-19. This fact undermines the country's popular view of politicians that Tanzania is "coronavirus free".
Hamad has been in the hospital since last week, Bloomberg reported. In addition to him, members of his family, including his wife, also suffered from Covid-19. President Hussein Mwinyi did not say the cause of death when he reported the death on national television.
Hamad was a representative of the opposition Tanzanian party ACT-Wazalendo, and last year formed a government of national unity in Zanzibar. Since 1995, he has run for the highest office in the archipelago six times, but has lost.
Tanzanian President John Maufuli insists the country is coronavirus free. No restrictions have been introduced, face masks are discouraged, and disclosure of infection data has been banned since April, making Tanzania the next country in the world, next to North Korea, not to publish Covid-19 data.
"I am deeply saddened by the news of the death of Maalim Seif Sharif Hamad," the President of Tanzania wrote on his Twitter account.
After coronavirus-related hospitalizations and deaths have recently risen there, Tanzanian government spokesman Hassan Abbasi told the BBC that "it was not said that Tanzania was free of the virus, only that the president meant that the virus in the country was under control. ". (PAP)