The veteran politician and businessman has been in the political sphere since the pre-independence political struggles. He is the founder of the People's Progressive Party.
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.
Born in 1937 and perhaps the oldest candidate in the race, his performance in the elections was poor and his political activity has been minimal.
Ssali attended elementary schools in Butambala before joining Kibuli and Nyakasura schools. He later went to Pakistan to pursue a degree in agriculture, which he abandoned before graduation. He holds the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Local Governance and Human Rights, obtained from Uganda Martyrs University.
At the time of Uganda's Independence in 1962, Bidandi Ssali was a mobilizer for the Uganda People's Congress (UPC), led by Milton Obote, Uganda's first Prime Minister. During the regime of Idi Amin, he turned his focus to football, coaching Kampala City Council (now Kampala Capital City Authority) FC from 1974 until 1979. For a period of about 60 days in 1978, Ssali was the team coach for the Uganda National team, The Cranes, the year they made it to the African Cup of Nations finals against Ghana.
In the 1980 general elections, Ssali was one of the promoters of the Uganda Patriotic Movement (UPM) led by Yoweri Museveni. However, the UPC won the contested elections prompting Museveni to go to the bush to fight the government.
Ssali did not did join Museveni in the bush, clandestinely offered assistance to the National Resistance Army rebels. When Museveni came to power in 1986, Ssali was one of the officials who joined him, later becoming the local government minister in 1989.
In 2004, Ssali resigned from Cabinet after disagreeing with some government officials over a constitutional amendment to allow Museveni contest for a third term of office in the 2006 general elections.
The Constitution was amended and a limitation on the term limits on the President was lifted, which allowed Museveni to contest in the subsequent elections.