Americans Need to Stop Ignoring Other Elections

Elections that are taking place around the world are having drastic effects and should not be disregarded.

Illustrator: Peyton Garcia

A recent election that has captivated the world is the general election in Kenya, where Uhuru Kenyatta was elected president for the second time this year on Oct. 26. Kenyatta was elected into office this past August, but the Supreme Court nullified the election in September due to irregularities after the opposition leader, Raila Odinga, protested the results; a repeat election was held.

While supporters of Kenyatta assert that both wins are a symbol of wide national support for the president, Odinga and his followers argue that the election process is corrupt and not credible. According to The New York Times,Mr. Odinga withdrew from the second election two weeks before the vote, arguing that the electoral commission could not oversee a free and fair process, and he called on his supporters to boycott. His name, nevertheless, appeared on the ballot, and he collected just over 73,000 votes, compared with nearly seven million in August.” Election officials also argued that the election process might not be credible or neutral, with one official fleeing the country and resigning due to death threats and consequences for questioning the prejudice of the commission. Wafula Chebukati, the top elections official, was warned that the election’s credibility might be undermined by political interference; however, Chebukati refuted these claims.

Since the second vote, at least 14 people have been killed due to election-related violence, and many have been injured according to international officials. Most are believed to have been killed by police, who caused over 70 deaths after the election in August. Martin Kimani, the director of the Kenyan National Counterterrorism Center, accused Odinga of policies that aim at causing ethnic violence and blocking the vote.

Some counties in western Kenya were unable to vote in the second election at all, and turned to protesting and demonstrations in order to make their voices heard. Electoral officials stated that the votes by individuals in these counties would not affect the overall vote and cancelled balloting.

This election is extremely significant, yet most Americans are unaware of it and are only concerned with the political happenings in their own country. While it is important to be current on the events unfolding in one’s own country, when an election such as this one in Kenya leads to so much violence, global affairs should be addressed.

World events and elections should not be neglected, as they affect other countries around the world, including the United States.

While it is important to be current on the events unfolding in one’s own country, when an election such as this one in Kenya leads to so much violence, global affairs should be addressed.

This was also seen in the most recent French election, in which Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron fought for the French presidency. One of the greatest differences between the candidates was that Le Pen, a member of the National Front Party, wished for France to leave the European Union, while Macron argued that France should stay. Macron won the election, and France will therefore remain in the E.U. However, if Le Pen had won and France had left the E.U., the future of the E.U. and foreign policy would be forever changed. Le Pen also proposed that hijabs and other symbols of religion be banned in public places, which would drastically affect Muslims. This proposal sent a message of intolerance worldwide.

Another important election was the general election that British Prime Minister Theresa May held in June, which shockingly resulted in a “hung Parliament.” This means that no political party holds a majority in Parliament, which will make it extremely difficult for May to pass major laws, particularly those related to Brexit. Brexit itself was an important result that Americans should concern themselves with, as it affects foreign policy and the E.U. immensely.

As Americans, we often get caught up in our own elections and ignore those in other countries around the world. This is a detrimental mistake, as the elections in other countries, like our own, have lasting effects around the world. It is extremely important to be a global citizen, as our actions and the actions of others abroad all affect each other.