Addressing mourners at Mudenge’s burial at the Heroes Acre in Harare, Mugabe said if he had known that Mudenge was not well the minister would not have been allowed to go on assignments in Bulawayo and Harare.
The minister died in his hotel room in Masvingo last Thursday where he was scheduled to address a conference of academics.
Mudenge had officially opened the St Patrick’s Hotel at the Bulawayo Poltechnic the previous day.
Mugabe said the minister had appeared physically fit but “could have been hurting inside.”
“We thought Mudenge was on his way to recovery and we are happy for him,” he said. “It would appear now that from inside his body was hurting.
“If we had realised Mudenge was not well, we would not have sent him on missions.”
The minister was hospitalised for a number of days following the attack by the bull in his Zimuto homestead.
Over the years he had also been in and out of hospital. He was widowed twice before he married a woman in her mid-20s early this year.
The veteran ruler took a swipe on factionalism in his Zanu PF and also called for an end to political violence.
“Some people are divisive but Mudenge was working to get people united,” Mugabe said. “We will be going to elections soon, let people vote the way they want to vote.
“And please let us maintain a high level of discipline by recognising that people are entitled to their own decisions.”
He criticised Zanu PF ministers who did not vociferously campaign for his party.
“We have silent ministers now, who don’t want to talk about politics,” he said. “They don’t want to defend their own country.”
Mudenge was appointed Zimbabwe’s permanent representative to the United Nations in New York soon after independence in 1980.
He also served as Foreign Affairs minister before Mugabe re-assigned him to the Higher and Tertiary Education portfolio.
Mugabe praised him as an astute academic and historian who was humble despite his high level of education.