As election centers closed Thursday, President Trump stated he has been watching Kenya’s election rerun “with great interest.” The second election comes on the heels of August’s original vote, in which incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta appeared to win. The Kenyan Supreme Court, however, annulled the results in early September amid allegations of voting irregularities and cyber manipulation, and ordered the October 26 rerun.
Since the court’s decision, the process has been full of unexpected developments. Raila Odinga, the opposition candidate who received 45% of the original vote, pulled himself off the ballot. Odinga criticized the lack of reforms and called for boycotts, while prosecutors have threatened to charge Raila’s sister with inciting violence. Finally, the Supreme Court could not rule on an appeal to delay the rerun because not enough judges appeared for the hearing. “Unbelievable — couldn’t believe it,” Trump remarked. “If some guy had suggested changing the plot of a ‘The Apprentice’ rerun, I would’ve told him, you know, you’re fired!” The president was also pleased to hear that he may even have a minor role to play.
Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) member Roselyn Akombe fled to the United States on October 18, leveling allegations of corruption against the IEBC and expressing fears for her safety. Trump criticized her choice, calling it a “worse mistake than Mark Brendanawicz leaving Parks and Rec after season 2!” He retweeted claims that Akombe participated in a NASA plot to sabotage the election, and urged Congress to confirm his nominee for NASA’s administrator. Any distinction between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) or Odinga’s political coalition, the National Super Alliance (NASA), was not clear. Press Secretary Sanders blamed the media for reporting on words instead of their supposed intent.
Votes will likely take a few days to tabulate. On behalf of twenty other prominent diplomats, U.S. Ambassador Robert F. Godec urged stability and respect for the electoral process. The statement warned that the election was critical to Kenya’s political institutions and continued prosperity in East Africa’s biggest economy. Shortly after the embassy released the statement, Trump tweeted “On the edge of my seat, expect incredible ratings. Would watch a second rerun!!”