Dominic Muntanga, son of national hero Andrew Sikajaya Muntanga, attacked President Robert Mugabe’s government which he accused of neglecting Binga and causing the arrest of his father at the height of the Gukurahundi massacres in the 1980s.
Addressing mourners during his father’s burial at the national shrine yesterday, Dominic said his father was passionate about the development of Binga and wanted the BaTonga to enjoy the same national status as other tribes, but said it was sad that the district had remained marginalised.
“He fought against the oppression of the Tonga people, but the jury is still out on that one,” Dominic said, adding he was like his father in many ways.
Dominic said the Tonga people were disadvantaged, and displaced during the construction of Kariba Dam, but up to now had not benefited from the largest man-made lake in sub-Saharan Africa.
“They have remained thirsty for electricity,” he added.
Muntanga, the first MP for Binga, is credited with raising the spirit of national consciousness among the BaTonga and playing an active role in the liberation struggle which brought about independence. Dominic said his father retired from active politics in 2000 after some members of Zanu PF whom he had mentored politically used “dirty tactics”, making false allegations against him.
“After my father retired, Zanu PF has not won in Binga. In 2005 and 2008, we all know that the open palm prevailed over the fist,” he said referring to the MDC and Zanu PF symbols, respectively.
In response, President Mugabe said his government had done a lot to improve the welfare of the BaTonga. He said the younger Muntanga could never be like his father for many reasons.
“You can never be like your father. A father will always be a father. He had a different path and went into the bush to liberate his family and his country. But you cannot go into the bush because you have a different path — that (your father’s path) has already been aGhieved,7