DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (AP) _ Julius Nyerere took leave of his State House office and a weeping populace on Thursday and returned to his home village to begin retirement.

Thousands of Tanzanians, many of them in tears, lined the streets of this East African capital as the 63-year-old former president and his successor, Ali Hassan Mwinyi, left the State House and rode to Dar es Salaam airport in an open Rolls-Royce.

Nyerere and his wife Maria flew to Musoma in northern Tanzania on the shore of Lake Victoria. Then they drove to Butiama, the village where Nyerere was born in 1922, and where a ceremony was awaiting them, according to the official media.

After seeing the Nyereres off, Mwinyi delivered his first speech as president before the newly elected Parliament, saying there would be no major shifts from his predecessor's policies.But he promised to improve the economy.

''My government will ensure that in the next five years, our economic problems are minimized if not solved altogether by utilizing all the resources at our exposure and with assistance from friendly countries,'' Mwinyi said.

He said Tanzania was getting less foreign aid because the country had lost credibility over its failure to repay debts, which amount to $600 million since last year. Production also has dropped.

Tanzania has been negotiating with the International Monetary Fund for the last five years for a standby credit, but it refused to accept IMF conditions, which Nyerere once complained would send people rioting into the streets.

Nyerere, leader since Tanzania's independence from Britain in 1961, announced his retirement earlier this year. He will live in Dodoma, the central Tanzania town which is to become the country's new capital.

Nyerere will remain chairman of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi - Swahili for Revolutionary Party - until 1987.

The party chose Mwinyi, 60, as the sole presidential candidate, and was elected with 92.2 percent of the vote Oct. 27. Voters could cast ballots saying ''yes,'' or ''no'' to his candidacy.