Bethuel Pakalitha Mosisili was born on 14 March 1945 and studied at the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. After graduating in 1970, Mosisili worked as a teacher and as a lecturer in African languages in various universities in Southern Africa and was awarded an MA at the University of Wisconsin in 1976, and a Master of Education at Simon Fraser University in Canada in 1982.
Mosisili joined the Basutoland Congress Party in 1967 and was imprisoned for more than a year when Chief Jonathan annulled the elections and banned political parties in 1970.
In 1993, Mosisili was elected to Parliament, and became Minister of Education and Training, Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs, later renamed the Ministry of Education and Manpower Development. In 1995, he raised to the post of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister Responsible for Home Affairs and Local Government.
In February 1998 he was elected leader of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy, which claimed a landslide victory at the general election in May 1998. Subsequently, Bethuel Pakalitha Mosisili was sworn in as Prime Minister on 29 May 1998.
Faced with an army mutiny in September 1998 that raised fears of a coup, Mosisili called on neighbouring states to intervene. The intervention led to new elections being rescheduled for May 2002.