The university council took the decision to suspend Levi Nyagura after several hours of “very heated debate” said the state-controlled Herald newspaper on Wednesday.
“A council resolution was taken that the vice chancellor be sent on an indefinite forced leave until the court cases are completed, as they could not let him stay since most of the State witnesses are his subordinates,” an unnamed lecturer told the paper.
The lecturer said the decision was made by a majority of council members.
Nyagura was arrested in mid-February by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC), which is investigating whether a PhD was wrongly awarded to the former first lady in 2014. Academics at the university had petitioned ZACC to carry out the probe, saying the way in which the doctorate was awarded was “very suspicious”.
Nyagura is currently out of custody on bail facing charges of abuse of office.
Last week former president Robert Mugabe is reported to have told guests at his private 94th birthday party that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government was persecuting his wife over the doctorate by targeting those responsible for awarding it to her.
“They are busy fighting the degree which we all helped her achieve,” the private Standard quoted him as telling guests.