The Cable

This Kenyan Leader Can Bond With Trump Over Claims of ‘Millions’ of Fraudulent Votes

But Raila Odinga seems to have better luck than The Donald in convincing skeptics he was wronged.


If misery loves company, Kenya’s former prime minister and Donald Trump have something to bond over. Both Raila Odinga and the U.S. president-elect are lamenting over recent election results — though it may seem strange since Odinga is talking about a 2013 vote and Trump, well, won the presidency.

On Sunday, Trump took to Twitter to rail against the results of the popular vote, apparently not satisfied with either a relaxing Thanksgiving break at his Florida estate or winning the presidency through electoral votes. “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally,” Trump said.

Former Kenyan leader Odinga feels his pain. On Monday, Odinga told a rally he lost the country’s 2013 elections because of “massive discrepancies” that amounted to a difference of 2 million votes. The country’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) dismissed Odinga’s narrative as a “myth.”

For his part, Trump’s claim of U.S. voter fraud was quickly refuted and earned Politifact’s coveted “pants on fire” rating on the Truth-o-meter. This didn’t dissuade the president-elect from continuing his narrative. “Serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire, and California – so why isn’t the media reporting on this? Serious bias – big problem!” tweeted Trump.

Odinga is running for Kenya’s presidency in 2017, making it his fourth bid after failed presidential runs in 1997, 2007, and 2013. If three failed bids has him down, maybe The Donald’s rise to power could serve as an inspiration.

Trump ran for president in 2000 as a Reform Party candidate, earning 15,000 votes in California’s primary before burning out. The former reality TV star also reportedly mulled running for president in 2004 and 2012 before standing down, as TV Guide reported. But this year, despite polls pointing to the contrary, the stars aligned for Trump and his surprise win.

If no one’s buying Trump’s claim of illegal votes in the United States, Odinga appears to have had better luck in Kenya. Months of protests accusing the IEBC of unfairly favoring Kenya’s ruling Jubilee Alliance over Odinga’s own Coalition for Reform and Democracy spurred all nine IEBC commissioners to step down ahead of 2017 presidential elections. The commissioners probably won’t be heading to Virginia, New Hampshire, and California.

Photo credit: SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images

Robbie Gramer is a diplomacy and national security reporter at Foreign Policy. @robbiegramer

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