Cyanika post between Uganda and Rwanda. The regional borders will be opened once the Common Market Protocol is implemented Picture by Morgan Mbabazi By Catherine Riungu Kenya has finally ratified the East African Common Market Protocol, signalling its readiness for the July deadline for free movement of people and goods across the region. Tanzania was the first in the bloc to ratify the agreement, clearing doubts over its commitment to the deal. Rwanda, which has been the most flexible in opening its borders to its partners in the East African Community has also approved it, and is awaiting parliaments nod to sign in into law. In the absence of a regional constitution, EAC Treaty matters have to be referred to regional jurisdictions for ratification, although plans are underway to craft a cross-border legal system. Since the Common Market Protocol was signed in November last year and July 2010 set as the deadline to implement the concept, it was expected that EAC member states would have ratified it by end of April.The approval by the Cabinet came just weeks after EAC-related ministries prepared a Cabinet memo to seek a nod to ratify the document which is also expected to trigger other legal reforms that will prepare the country for the common market. An approval by the Cabinet gives the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the power to inform the EAC secretariat that Kenya has agreed to the provisions of the Common Market Protocol, EAC Permanent Secretary, David Nalo, said. Each of the five EAC countries has up to July this year to deposit a copy of the ratified Common Market Protocol with the Secretariat.The protocols implementation will open the regions borders for easy movement of labour, capital, goods and services within member states. The protocol will affect the existing national laws and partner states have been asked to comply with its provisions, Peter Munya, EAC Assistant Minister, told journalist last week at a Common Market sensitisation meeting. The EAC Ministry has already established a task force headed by Justice Stewart Madzayo to audit the national laws and recommend reforms that are needed to weed out parts that conflict with the provisions of the protocol. The task force is expected to detail how the current national laws limit movement of labour and capital markets and give recommendation on the nature of the required administrative and legal reforms. Immigration Minister Otieno Kajwang has indicated that Kenya will eliminate work permits for all regional citizens, following in the footsteps of Rwanda that pioneered the move three years ago. President Paul Kagame of Rwanda has been pushing for a single tourist visa to promote the region as a single attraction. Other such calls are for the speedy conclusion of the ongoing study on a uniform academic standards across the region. The East African Community is developing a common strategy to address food security and climate change. The strategy will be embodied in two policy documents Food Security Action Plan and the Climate Change Policy that will be presented to the heads of state at a special summit later this month in Arusha. Already, the drafts have been ratified by the East African Legislative Assembly and were reviewed at the recently held Sectoral Council of Ministers for Lake Victoria Basin and the multisectoral meeting on Food Security and Climate Change in Kisumu. Now, the documents have been passed on to the partner states for review and eventual forwarding to the EAC Secretariat for consolidation as they await ratification. This is great news right?