Despite all the dancing and bonhomie displayed in his latest visit to Mozambique, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa’s remarks that it might be a good thing to review the widely nationally-reviled spelling agreement have stirred up a hornet’s nest of controversy.
“There is no going back,” Murarde Murargy, executive secretary of the CPLP (community of Portuguese speaking countries), told reporters earlier this week – backed by minister of Foreign Affairs Augusto Santos Silva who stressed the “subject was closed”.
Marcelo’s opposition to the agreement goes back to the very beginning – in 1990 – when it was suggested in order to bring all Portuguese-speaking nations onto the same page.
But as Mozambique and Angola – two of the largest Portuguese-speaking communities – have still to adopt it, Marcelo thought he might have had a bargaining chip.
With the issue now peremptorily cut off, jornali reports that both Mozambique and Angola are “on the way to adopting the agreement”, albeit taking their time.
Meantime, as president, he is bound to write according to the agreement, but as “citizen Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa” he will continue to write “like the Mozambicans”, he said last week, “which is not in accordance with the Spelling Agreement”.