By Amadou Jadama
Members of the Gambian bench and bar yesterday mourned the death of Magistrate Malafi Jarju of the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court. He died at a local hospital yesterday morning and his remains were laid to rest at a cemetery in his native Faraba in the evening.
A long time resident of the United States, Mr Jarju returned to The Gambia and joined President Jammeh’s cabinet as minister of lands and local government. After he left cabinet, he enrolled at the University of The Gambia where he read law before joining the judiciary.
He served as a magistrate at the Banjul, Bundung, Brikama and Kanifing courts.
Grief-stricken Principal Magistrate Isatou Janneh-Njie told The Standard she was informed that Jarju complained of laboured breathing the night before and was taken to the hospital.
She said he was in court on Tuesday to deliver what would be his last judgements and that his untimely death has shocked the entire judiciary and that the chief justice ordered courts throughout the country to suspend proceedings.
“I have never received a single complaint from anybody about Jarju. This demonstrates that he was a very humble and respectable human being,” she added.
Kanifing Magistrates Court registrar, Ramatoulie Touray, also expressed shock over Jarju’s death. She said Jarju was “a very good father and brother” to her and to the junior staff of the court.
“It is a sad day for the whole of the Gambian judiciary more especially for the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court,” Touray said.
The late Magistrate’s clerk Maimuna Jaiteh recalled that Jarju called her to inform her that he was going to go to work yesterday (Thursday) to deliver some judgments.