Police in Malawi said Tuesday they had arrested a 37-year-old man and charged him with breaching the peace, after he allegedly called President Joyce Banda "stupid."

Japhet Chirwa is believed to have called the head of state "stupid and a failure" after a failed bid to change the name in his passport, police spokesman Maurice Chapola told AFP.

"He got furious and started talking ill of the president," said Chapola, speaking from the northern city of Mzuzu.

Chirwa has been charged with conduct likely to cause a breach of the peace, which could carry a fine or a six-month custodial sentence.

He is expected to appear in court later this week.

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