A former Midlands State University (MSU) philosophy lecturer, Ishmael Jeko, was found dead in his house last Friday.
Jeko was vice-president of Midlands State University Lecturers Association (MSULA) but was recently fired from work under unclear circumstances.
Introducing the Pindula News Mobil App
Download from Google Play Store
It is thought that he died from stress emanating from his sudden dismissal from employment.
Jeko becomes the fourth MSU employee to die suddenly after a brush with the management in a short period of time.
In 2020, Solomon Raja from MSU’s Works and Estates Department collapsed and died in his house last year after a prolonged suspension from duty without salary and benefits.
Earlier, Abious Marozva, an administrator at MSU, had collapsed and died in his house after a demotion from lectureship to an administrative role.
A few months before Marozva’s death, Samson Rwadzi Mhlahlo died at his South Downs home after being demoted from the post of executive dean of Social Sciences to the post of acting director of Press and publications. He was no longer an academic.
NewsDay quoted as source as saying stress levels at MSU have gone up lately as the institution is in the habit of suspending staff members indefinitely. Said the source:
This is clearly worrisome. Stress levels at MSU seem to have gone up lately and incidentally, those collapsing and dying would have had an abrasion of some sort with leadership.
For instance, in the past, instead of one’s suspension without salary and benefits lasting 14 days in line with the Labour Act, at MSU, one could be suspended in perpetuity.
MSULA president Farai Ncube refused to comment on the matter saying he was at his farm.
Meanwhile, a leaked MSU memo dated 25 August 2021 and signed by registrar Tinashe Zishiri shows more heads are set to roll. It read in part:
Restructuring and rationalisation should be complete by the end of the year. Restructuring and rationalisation of the catering services department is almost complete.
The next phase of restructuring and rationalisation will cover the Faculty of Social Sciences and non-teaching departments, namely the human resources department, projects and maintenance department and central services and amenities department.
Communication on voluntary retrenchment, early retirement and compulsory retrenchment targeting the above-mentioned will be circulated in due course.
MSU spokesperson Mirirai Shorwa Mawere could not be reached for comment as her mobile went unanswered, while Zishiri refused to comment saying he was late for his flight.