The Presidency was established in 1964 when Kenya became a Republic. It inherited executive powers previously exercised by the Prime Minister and the Governor General on delegation from the Queen of England. On becoming a Republic, The President became the Head of State, Head of Government, and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces as provided for by the independence Constitution of Kenya. As the newly independent Kenya grew, demand for service delivery increased equally necessitating creation of special purpose organs known as Ministries of State in the Presidency to perform them.
The Presidency and Cabinet Affairs Office as previously known was charged with organization and coordination of Government business, initiating policy, organising activities of the Cabinet and its Committees. It provided policy advisory to public agencies and other stakeholders and served as a secretariat to the Cabinet. Following the signing of the National Accord of 2008, supervision and coordination of Government business was assigned to the newly created Office of the Prime Minister while the Presidency continued to provide the overall strategic leadership and policy direction to the entire government.
Since independence up to and during the National Accord Era, the office was headed by The Permanent Secretary to the President, Secretary to the Cabinet and Head of Public Service (PSSC/HOPS). The Head of the Public Service in the capacity as Secretary to the Cabinet headed a secretariat that directly supported the President in the execution of Cabinet mandate and other functions.
The role of the PSSC/HOPS then as stipulated in Dispatch of Government Business was:-
- The Permanent Secretary to the President is also Secretary to the Cabinet and Head of the Public Service.
- The Permanent Secretary to the President is responsible to the President for the general efficiency of the Civil Service, for facilitation of the activities of the Civil Servants, and for the overall organization of the machinery for the execution of the Governmentâ€™s policies.
- The Permanent Secretary to the President is ultimately responsible to the President for ensuring that all agencies of the Government are adequately staffed for the performance of their functions.
- The Secretary to the Cabinet in accordance with such instructions as may be given by the President, arranges the business and keeps the minutes of meetings of the Cabinet, and conveys the decisions of the Cabinet to the appropriate persons or authority.
- The Secretary to the Cabinet is responsible to the President for ensuring that the appropriate authority concerned with a Cabinet decision takes action and for this purpose, he/she will maintain a register of all Cabinet decisions and action(s) taken thereon.
The Presidency and Cabinet Affairs Office executed these roles through Government Ministries/Departments, inter-Ministerial and other specialized departments and committees including advisory roles.