The phrase a ‘culture of silence’ is attributed to Jerry Rawlings in the late 1980s, at a time when he was military head of state in Ghana. In a ‘culture of silence’ the masses are mute, that is, they are prohibited from taking part in the transformation of their society. In a neo-colonial state, a ‘culture of silence’ is imposed on the masses and peace and order are guaranteed by ferocious repression. The basic premise that motivates this research is that the neo-colonial state, a by-product of the colonial state was influential in imposing the ‘culture of silence’ and fear in the lives of ordinary people. As such, a defining feature of the neo-colonial state, it is argued, is a ‘culture of silence’. Definitions and analysis of the neo-colonial state follow lines of arguments put forward by African writes such as Claude Ake, Ngugi wa Thiong’o and Mahmood Mamdani. Within this broad paradigm of neo-colonialism, and analysis of Banda’s Malawi is developed which pays particular attention to a ‘culture of silence’. This in turn leads to an examination of the effect of liberalization on political and civic space in Malawi.