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Sierra Leone opposition supporters protest against electoral body

Hundreds of supporters of the opposition party, All People's Congress (APC), hold up signs calling for the Chief electoral Commissioner, Mohamed Konneh, to step down   -  
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JOHN WESSELS/AFP or licensors

Sierra Leone

Police and protesters clashed on Wednesday when the supporters of the opposition party All People’s Congress (APC) who are accusing the electoral commission and its chairman Mohamed Konneh of alleged bias in favor of the ruling party.

The protesters are demanding the release of a more detailed voter register.

"We are here to protest because we want a credible election. All we are asking for, we don’t have problems with the government of the day. We just want a credible election. If the election is free and fair, definitely there will be no protest," one protester said.

"We have several issues we have raised to ECSL (Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone). They have not considered and adhered to the issues. We are in the majority. If Konneh knows he is not biased he should listen to the people of the country because we are in the majority," another protester said.

Thirteen people are vying for the top job in the West African country. But experts say it's likely to be a two-horse race between incumbent President Julius Maada Bio — elected in 2018 and fighting for his second term — and Samura Kamara, the head of the All People's Congress Party, Sierra Leon's main opposition camp. 

The winner needs 55% of the vote to clinch victory in the first round or it goes into a runoff within two weeks.

More than three million people are registered to vote in the coming week. This would mark the country's fifth presidential election since the end of a brutal 11-year civil war — more than two decades ago — which left tens of thousands dead and destroyed the country's economy.

Sierra Leone had witnessed two peaceful transfers of power since, from the ruling party to the opposition party.

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