He attended Kyamate Primary School in Ntungamo, Mbarara High School and Ntare School. In 1967, he went to the University of Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania, where he studied economics and political science.
After the 2001 elections, Reform Agenda was merged with a number of smaller pressure groups that had emerged opposing the government, to form the political party Forum for Democratic Change (FDC).
He rose at a time when the region was embroiled in a war orchestrated by Joseph Kony, which ravaged the region for over two decades.
Having served the government of President Yoweri Museveni from 1989 to 2004 as local government minister, Ssali started his own party and contested in the 2011 presidential elections.
Otunnu defeated Jimmy Akena in the UPC elections to succeed Miria Obote, wife of former President Milton Obote.
During the 1996 presidential elections, he supported Yoweri Museveni, but switched allegiance to Kizza Besigye in 2001.
Born in Nakuru, Kenya of a Ugandan father George Wilson Kamya and Kenyan mother Margaret Wairimu Kamya, Beti is the fourth born in the family of nine siblings
He is an ardent federalist and unshakable member of the Democratic Party, was Founder Member of the Uganda Young Democrats (UYD) 1995 – 1996