President Ali Hassan Mwinyi told members of his ruling party that opposition parties will soon be legal in Tanzania.
Addressing 2,000 delegates at a special congress, President Mwinyi said: "The time is ripe for Tanzania to have a multiparty system. Tanzania must go with the times." However, he did not specify when other parties would be allowed.
Former President Julius Mwalimu Nyerere, the architect of Tanzanian socialism who retired in 1984, told the congress of the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (the Revolutionary Party) that a democratic system was now the best way to rid the East African country of the "poison of corruption."
Meanwhile, in neighbouring Kenya, President Daniel arap Moi told the British Broadcasting Corporation that he had not authorized a multiparty system two months ago out of conviction but only because of pressure from the West.