Ali Waheed rejoins MDP

Former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed at a press conference on March 8, 2020. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

The first tourism minister of the former Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)’s administration, Ali Waheed, has rejoined the party on Thursday.

Ali Waheed announced resigning with MDP in a post on X. In his post, he wished success to MDP, the Maldivian nation and citizens and promised to serve diligently.

Ali Waheed has previously served as MDP’s chairperson. He is returning to the party after seven years and seven days.

He had been involved in the presidential campaign of Jumhoory Party (JP)’s presidential candidate and leader Qasim Ibrahim following his return to the Maldives in July after almost three years of self-exile in the UK.

However, after the first round of the presidential election, which JP had lost, Ali Waheed left the party.

Ali Waheed returned to Maldives on July 11th following almost three years of self-exile in the UK after the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO)’s decision to file the case against him after victims and witnesses in the making sexual allegations against him sent a letter to the PGO and the police, requesting the authorities to drop the case.

Allegations that Ali Waheed sexually assaulted and harassed multiple female employees at the Tourism Ministry were brought to the attention of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih mid-2020. He was initially asked to resign voluntarily but was dismissed after he refused on July 9, 2020. 

He was also dismissed from his post as the leader of JP after amending the articles of association of the party.

Ali Waheed was pressed with seven charges in connection to the allegations; attempted rape, inflicting a sexual, indecent exposure, sexual assault, attempt to cause sexual assault, and two counts of unlawful sexual contact. He left the Maldives mid-trial, claiming for medical purposes.

At the time of his return, not only the sexual misconduct case against him had been dismissed, the Supreme Court sentencing Ali Waheed to two months and 12 days in prison for contempt of court after he failed to show up for a hearing, had also been nullified.

Speaking to the press after his return, Ali Waheed said he no longer had any interest in being involved in political works, adding he would mostly be seen in football next.

Ali Waheed has formed a new football team, ‘Atolls FC’, where he serves as the coach.