NEWLY-APPOINTED Zanzibar First Vice President, Othman Masoud Othman has pledged to follow in his predecessor the late Seif Sharif Hamad’s footsteps by promoting unity, peace and political tolerance among the islanders.
The former Zanzibar Attorney General was on Monday appointed successor to the former First Vice President, Hamad, who died on February 17, 2021.
Reached for comments after his appointment, Mr Othman stressed on national unity as he promised to work hard and meet the expectations of President Hussein Mwinyi and the people of Zanzibar.
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.
A statement from the State House in the Isles said that the appointment of Mr Othman, who is a member of the opposition ACT-Wazalendo, 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).
Mr Othman said his appointment means the President has big trust in him and that he was prepared to fulfill his responsibilities as the Isles first VP.
"I thank President Mwinyi for appointing me to this position. I have accepted this post and all responsibilities that are listed on it. I promise to work hard for the betterment of Zanzibar and Tanzania in general,” he stated.
The new VP asked for cooperation from other leaders so that they could be able to bring development for wananchi in the isles.
“My dream is to see a better Zanzibar, I would like to be part of creating a good future for the people of Zanzibar,” he said.
Before his appointment, his party, ACT-Wazalendo, screened names of senior leaders for filling the void left by its chairman Mr Hamad.
The appointment of Mr Othman was received with mixed feelings in the isles with some people such as Ms Catherine Peter Nao- Secretary- Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) special committee, Zanzibar commending the appointment.
"We congratulate him for the appointment. Although the late Seif's shoes may not fit him properly, I think he will work with President Mwinyi for the development of Zanzibar," Ms Nao said.
Ms Fatma Fereji from ACT-Wazalendo congratulated Othman for the appointment saying; "I believe he will perform to the expectation of the people, and provide assistance to the president Mwinyi."
Mr Othman, who is a lawyer by profession, served as Attorney General (AG) of Zanzibar from 2010 to October 2014 when his appointment was revoked following disputes over Zanzibar status during the debate on the proposed new Union constitution.
Since 2014, Othman became a law consultant while working closely with the then Zanzibar main opposition party, the Civic United Front (CUF).
He then crossed to ACT-Wazalendo when the late Hamad defected to the new party following internal conflicts within CUF. Mr Othman has been one of the senior consultants of the ACT-wazalendo until his appointment.