UGANDA, Kitgum | Real Muloodi News | Jordan Kinyera was just six years old when his father lost their land to neighbours in a legal dispute. The devastating events years back inspired the Ugandan man to attend law school. After becoming a lawyer, he brought about a successful lawsuit against the neighbours and prevailed in court.
Mr Kinyera’s father, a retired civil servant, had lived most of his life on their land in Kitgum District, in northern Uganda. However, in 1996, his neighbours took the land. Two decades after the real estate seizure, with a law degree in hand, Mr Kinyera took up his father’s case, and he won.
According to Mr Kinyera, the long years in and out of court left the father in tatters.
“It broke my father and drove him to the brink of depression. He would sometimes break down and cry. His health deteriorated,” Mr Kinyera says.
The father had applied for the land and got a certificate of title for it, but could not develop it because of the injunctions barring him from carrying out any activities on the land.
While at law school, Mr Kinyera’s focus was on land law. Furthermore, he dug deeper into the dispute to further understand the cause and nature of the conflict, and devise a strategy for a positive outcome for his father and family.
“I became a lawyer later in life, but much of it was inspired by events I grew up witnessing; the circumstances and frustrations my family went through during the trial and how it affected us,” Mr Kinyera narrates.
“I admit the task was daunting because I argued the last appeal knowing that if I had lost, there would be no redemption. I would have let my father and family down,” Mr Kinyera says.
The High Court of Appeal in Uganda finally ruled in his father’s favour. For Mr Kinyera, it was a bittersweet victory.
“I was happy that all my years of hard work finally paid off and that my father had got his land back,” Mr Kinyera says.
Mr Kinyera says that his ailing father could not attend court to receive the judgment, but his reaction was priceless.
“When I called to inform him about the ruling, he was overjoyed. He broke down and cried,” Mr Kinyera narrates.
“He struggles with Alzheimer’s, so he has to be reminded from time to time that his son argued his case and got his land back. It renewed his joy every time we reminded him.” “Justice delayed is justice denied.” My father is 82 years old, and he can’t do much with the land now. It’s up to us children to pick up from where he left,” Mr Kinyera says.
Uganda records a lot of land conflicts which affect 33-50% of landowners, according to the legal advocacy group Namati.
Many internally displaced Ugandans who return to their home after several years from camps find themselves in land disputes. Today, Mr Kinyera represents several clients in such cases, just like his father.
Well done, Kinyera Jordan! We applaud you.
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