His father Andrew Muntanga, a long-serving MP for Binga, who died on July 10, became the first ex-fighter from Binga to be buried at the shrine.
As was the case with many luminaries in PF Zapu, Muntanga was detained by Mugabe’s regime on several occasions during the disturbances in Midlands and Matabeleland.
Human rights groups say over 20 000 civilians were murdered during the military campaign they believe was targeted at Mugabe’s opponents.
Muntanga said his father, who won the Zanu PF primaries in 2000, was pushed aside by people he had mentored, who allegedly used dirty tactics.
He said Zanu PF had not won an election in the remote but vast district since that time as the MDC was always sweeping the seats.
Mugabe reacted angrily saying Muntanga would never be like his father. However, the ageing ruler was forced to admit that Gukurahundi was a “nasty period”.
“You can never be like your father,” he said. “He had a different path and went into the bush to liberate his family and his country. But you cannot go into the bush now because you have a different path.”
But Muntanga, who communicated with The Standard through email, said although the family did not want to say much about his father’s ill-treatment, he stood by what he said at the Heroes Acre.
“My family has gone through a lot in the last few years of my father’s illness and in the last week,” he said without elaborating.
“While I understand the concern for my father, I do not wish to make this bigger than it already is.
“The message I had was from my heart. What I said are facts and I stand by that, my father would say that, I think.”
He said despite his suffering, his father had no grudge against anyone.
“He moved on and as I said, even after his arrests, he worked to unite PF Zapu and Zanu PF. I do not wish this to be about Mugabe,” he said.