NAIROBI: The Kenyan presidency said Wednesday it had ordered a review of salary increases for public servants in an apparent move to defuse tensions after a wave of sometimes deadly anti-government protests.

Public anger is running high over what protesters see as rampant government extravagance in the face of the economic hardships and high cost of living confronting ordinary Kenyans.

Demonstrations led mainly by Gen-Z Kenyans over proposed tax increases have spiralled into a wider campaign demanding President William Ruto’s resignation and action against perceived corruption and profligate spending by his administration.

Dozens of people have been killed since the initially peaceful rallies began more than two weeks ago, with the police accused of using excessive force against protesters.

It is the most serious crisis facing Ruto since he took office in September 2022 in the East African nation often touted as a beacon of stability in a turbulent region.

The latest demonstrations on Tuesday again descended into mayhem, with police firing tear gas at rock-throwing crowds. There were reports of widespread looting and property damage particularly in the capital Nairobi and the port city of Mombasa, an opposition stronghold.

Ruto’s spokesman Hussein Mohamed said in a statement on X that the presidency has ordered the Treasury to review pay and benefits for state officials and lawmakers.

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