Mourners gather at funeral of Zanzibar vice-president

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Aboubakar Famau BBC News, Zanzibar

The deceased vice-president of Tanzania’s semi-autonomous islands of Zanzibar will be buried on Thursday at his home village in Pemba Island

Seif Sharif Hamad, popularly known as Maalim Seif, died on Wednesday – nearly three weeks after his party said he had contracted Covid-19.

He is the most prominent political figure in Tanzania to have openly declared that he had contracted Covid19 .

Prayers have been held in Dar es Salaam where he died while undergoing treatment. Former Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete was in attendance.

Many people in Zanzibar are still in disbelief. On social media he has been described as a visionary leader who brought unity to the island.

In his home village many shops remained closed for the better part of Wednesday after news broke of his death.

Transport services were overwhelmed as people rushed to travel to Pemba to pay their last respect.

Hearse on stand-by