Free movement of persons is one of the core tenets of the East African Community (EAC) common market, making it seem like a purely economic project. However the EAC ultimately aims to constitute itself as a political federation. This article argues that the free movement of persons within the EAC should be interpreted in broad terms with the aim of asserting it as a fundamental right of EAC citizens. Such an interpretation should be championed by the East African Court of Justice, whose mandate is the interpretation and application of community law. The court, however, seems to prefer a narrow, textual and cautious interpretive approach that may not necessarily advance the EAC's broader objectives. A human rights-oriented interpretive approach might just be the key to realizing a progressive transformation in the rationalization of the right to free movement within the EAC.