The United States government is keeping Joice Mujuru and her lieutenants on its targeted sanctions list even though they broke away from Zanu PF more than a year ago and moved into opposition politics.
The US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) website shows that Mujuru, Didymus Mutasa, Rugare Gumbo, Sylvester Nguni, Bright Matonga and Munacho Mutezo are still on the list that restricts them from travelling to the country and engaging in business with American companies.
The individuals were victims of a purge that Zanu PF started in 2014, accusing them of rallying behind Mujuru, former Zanu PF and national deputy to Mugabe, in a plot to topple the long ruling president.
They now occupy top interim positions in the newly formed Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) movement that has been hailed as a decisive political player ahead of the 2018 general elections.
Mujuru, whose party is set for its maiden congress soon, was last weekend seen holding hands with the leader of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) in the Midlands capital, Gweru, during a demonstration.
The ZimPF leader who had known no other party but Zanu PF since her teenage years fighting in a war against colonialism in the 1970s has vowed to bring back democracy to Zimbabwe after 36 years of Mugabe’s rule.
Zanu PF propaganda hawks have repeatedly accused Mujuru of attending secret meetings with US officials during her tenure as vice president.
The US targeted sanctions were introduced in 2003 “as a result of the actions and policies of certain members of the Government of Zimbabwe and other persons undermining democratic institutions and processes in Zimbabwe”, according to the US embassy in Harare.
In its present form, the restrictive sanctions list applies to 98 individuals and 68 institutions comprising mostly farms, and companies owned by the individuals or institutions linked to Zanu PF.
Other individuals who were expelled from Zanu PF for allegedly siding with Mujuru but have not joined ZimPF remain on the list.
These include former cabinet ministers, Olivia Muchena, Webster Shamu and Francis Nhema and Ray Kaukonde, an ex-Zanu PF provincial chairperson.
In contrast, the European Union (EU) which resumed direct engagement with the Mugabe government in late 2014 has whittled down individuals on its restrictive measures list to the president and his wife only, having removed hundreds of his lieutenants and kept a few on the suspended roster.
The US list still contains individuals who have passed on, such as Sabina, Mugabe’s sister, and Charles Utete, who passed away recently.
Former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, Gideon Gono, and ex-wife of defence forces commanders, Jocelyne Mauchaza, also remain on the list