A MIDLANDS State University philosophy lecturer, Ishmael Jeko, was found dead in his house last Friday.
Jeko was vice-president of Midlands State University Lecturers Association (MSULA). He was recently fired from work under unclear circumstances and is suspected to have died from stress.
According to a source who requested anonymity, Jeko’s sudden dismissal from employment must have affected him.
He becomes the fourth MSU employee to die suddenly after a brush with the management in a short period of time.
This was after 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 earlier, 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.
“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,” the source said.
“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.
“I am at the farm. I can’t comment now. I will call you later,” he said.
Meanwhile, a leaked MSU memo seen by NewsDay dated August 25, 2021 and signed by registrar Tinashe Zishiri shows more heads are set to roll.
Part of the memo read: “Subject: Restructuring and rationalisation progress update.
“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.
Zishiri refused to comment saying he was late for his flight.
“I can’t say anything now because I have to catch a flight in a few minutes. How can I comment without seeing you in person? You should make a courtesy call and I can comment on everything you asked face-to-face,” he said. Newsday