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Ugandan Man Becomes a Lawyer to Win Back His Family Land

It was a moment Jordan Kinyera had been waiting for all his life—23 years after his family’s land was taken during his childhood when he was just 6 years old.

The High Court of Uganda returned the land to them in April, after Kinyera studied to become a lawyer to ensure that justice would prevail.

Now, he is paying it forward by helping families like his, and by spreading the word about land disputes in his homeland.

Mr. Kinyera’s father had lived on the same property since his childhood, but lost it after being sued by neighbors in a 1996 dispute.

“He had a lot of emotional attachment to it, having buried many of his deceased relatives on it, including his brother, after whom I was named,” Mr. Kinyera told CNN.

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When he called his 82-year-old father to give him the good news, “He was overjoyed. He broke down and cried.”

Mr. Kinyera worked through 18 years of school and legal training and now says that this knowledge, which his retired-father lacked, allowed him to adequately contest the case, and motivated him to press on all those years.

He was also inspired by the intention to help others in the same position.

Land disputes are common in Uganda, with 33-50% of landowners fighting for their rights at some point, according to the legal advocacy group Namati. This is mostly because so many Ugandans became displaced during war-torn years, then returned home to find their land hijacked.

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“The issue is so widespread that an entire branch of the high court is just dedicated to land disputes,” Mr. Kinyera told the BBC.

He has vowed that he and his siblings will work to fulfill their elderly father’s dreams for the land.

Meanwhile, he makes his father proud by simply providing hope to so many others.

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