Security authorities in Gulu City have ordered hotel and lodge owners to stop accommodating anyone claiming to be a guest of Gen Salim Saleh, the coordinator of Operation Wealth Creation, without prior vetting from security.
In a September 13 letter to the hotel owners, Mr Dennis Odongpiny, the Resident City Commissioner, demands that for any visitor claiming to be Gen Salim Saleh’s guest, they must provide evidence of a booked appointment before being checked in.
Gen Saleh, who is also the senior presidential adviser on security, has been camping in Gulu City for over a year.
As a result, he has thrust himself in the public limelight with all roads leading to his doorstep, especially his network of friends and business people.
But the number of guests thronging the city to meet him is worrying authorities, who say it could be a source of insecurity.
On April 16, security authorities met hotel and lodge owners to discuss how to effectively contain the guests, and warned them against hosting those without proof of appointment.
However, in the September 13 letter, which Daily Monitor, has seen, Mr Odongpiny said the hotel and lodge owners have continued to violate the directive.
“Reference is made to my meeting with you on April 16 where you were requested not to receive and host any guest who claimed to be a guest of Gen Salim Saleh without the official booking by his military aide, Col Jimmy Nkojo,” he wrote.
“The purpose of this letter is to inform you that we have continued to receive information that some of you have continued to accommodate guests of Gen. Saleh despite our caution,” Mr Odongpiny writes.
He added that any hotel or lodge that continued to book guests without being sanctioned by Col Nkojo will not be honoured.
It is said Gen Saleh’s teams are currently battling a backlog of claims from hotel and lodge owners who want bills of visitors who claimed to be of Gen Saleh cleared.
Several attempts to speak to Mr Odongpiny to independently verify the claims were futile since his telephone numbers were unavailable by press time.
When politicians, ministers, other government officials, including artistes, started flocking Gulu City to engage Gen Salim Saleh, several hotels and accommodation facilities in the area experienced a business boom.
For example, during the nearly one month’s duration the artistes spent in the city negotiating with Gen Saleh over the alleged Covid-19 cash bailout, they booked into places such as Acholi Inn, Bomah Hotel, KSP Hotel, Golden Peace Hotel, New Florida Hotel, Kakanyero Hotel, among others.
Their basic hangout joints were usually the Gulu Bus Terminal, O’café, KSP Hotel, Acholi Inn, Bomah Hotel, The Hub, among others. A staff at Kakanyero Hotel, who preferred anonymity, said the hotel hosted eight guests, who included five artistes.
“Having these guests to reside here for close to a month was a huge boost to us, especially now that we are struggling with the Covid-19 effects as a hotel industry,” she said.