A statement from the State House in Zanzibar said the appointment of Masoud was in accordance with Article 9 (3) of the Zanzibar Constitution which requires the President to maintain the spirit of the Government of National Unity (GNU).
“By powers vested in him through Article 39(4) of the Zanzibar Constitution of 1984 and after consultations with ACT-Wazalendo, the President of Zanzibar and chairman of the Revolutionary Council, Dr Hussein Ali Mwinyi has appointed Othman Masoud Othman Sharif to be the First Vice President,” the statement reads in part.
Article 40 (1) of the Zanzibar Constitution 1984 as revised in 2010 requires that in case the First or Second Vice President dies, the successor would be picked within 14 days.
Maalim Seif died on February 17 and his body was laid to rest the following day in Pemba.
Earlier yesterday, Dr Mwinyi hinted at issuing an important announcement to the Isles and Tanzania as a whole, when responding to concerns of journalists at a symposium to discuss communication in building the new Zanzibar.
Journalists in Zanzibar told the president that State House statements are released late, therefore denying print and television stations the opportunity to make intensive coverage on major events when they occur.
“I have heard your concerns. In that regard I have to leave here early because later today there will be an important announcement to share with you,” he told the cheering members of the media.
Interviewed early yesterday, the ACT-Wazalendo party leader, Zitto Kabwe said the name of the person to succeed the late Hamad had been submitted to President Mwinyi who is the appointing authority.
“The candidate conforms with the party's criteria of advocating reconciliation and unity,” he said.
Masoud Othman Sharif was for years the Zanzibar Attorney General.
He was born at Pandani village, Wete district in the northern region of Pemba in the early 1960s, attending Pandani primary school and later the Fidel Castro secondary school in Chakechake, Pemba.
He joined the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) for a degree in law (LL.B) and returned to Zanzibar where he served in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs as a lawyer.
He later joined the University of London and attained a master’s degree (LL.M) and upon return he was appointed Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Good Governance under President Dr Salmin Amour. He later became the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) under President Amani Karume, then served as Attorney General under President Dr Ali Mohammed Shein.