Zimbabwe's presidential spokesperson George Charamba says he wanted to retire when his former boss Robert Mugabe resigned, but President Emmerson Mnangagwa asked him to continue "serving the nation". Speaking during an interview with ZiFM, Charamba said he had wanted to retire so he could help Mugabe write his memoirs. Mugabe, who ruled Zimbabwe for 37 years, stepped down from power following a military intervention that targeted "criminals around him" in November. The nonagenarian's authoritarian reign left the southern African country in dire economic decline, triggering mass emigration and widespread collapse of public services, according to AFP.Watch as George Charamba speaks below "I expected to do two things; leave government about the time that the President (Mugabe) would have left and this was all on the assumption that departure would be normal, except then it happened in a very acrimonious and conflictual environment. And then the second thing I was going to do was I was going to join the former President in working on his memoirs because he needs to download, he owes this country some kind of history and I thought I had some role to play," said Charamba. "...President Mnangagwa said to me Charamba this is national service it’s not about what you want it is what I would want you to do so you are joining me in the capacity of permanent secretary and as well as spokesperson'".Charamba said he had also wanted to spend more time with his children, especially after losing his wife thought death last year."I also I lost my wife, I wanted to give a little more time to my children so that you know I could have more time with the kids and play surrogate mother in the absence of my late wife," he said.* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook.