PAPUA New Guinea is only four months away from the 2017 national election with voting starting on 24 June and ending on 8 July.
The next crop of legislators are somewhere in those thousands of men and women of all persuasions who are campaigning hard and hoping to be elected.
Whether the next parliament will be any better than the 2012-17 parliament is easy to predict.
In the Lufa Open Electorate of the Eastern Highlands we are anticipating a long-awaited change of the guard which could set solid foundations for our journey further into the 21st century.
The work of convincing and luring voters is an evolving art form in a difficult environment in which tribal politics interacts with the established political culture we inherited from the West.
Only a few politicians, generally long-serving, have managed to master this fusion.
Voters come in contrasting persuasions but two broad categorisations will do: the political ignoramuses and the politically enlightened.
The ignoramuses are the bigger group. They don't get tossed around easily by the political whirlwind that blows every election year. Rather, they chain themselves firmly to the sophistication of tribal politics developed over the eons.
Within the politics of the tribe, an oasis of approval and security is guaranteed.
To win the support of this group, candidates need to get down and dirty with tribal politicking.
This essentially means foregoing the 'higher-level' politics of policy, economy, international affairs, even corruption. The discussion is limited by a lack of understanding of and interest in what lies beyond the tribe.
Therefore it is vital to work within the established traditional social structures and systems. A deep understanding of the workings of tribal connections and associated customary obligations is a great advantage.
To work outside this traditional milieu is counterproductive and can easily derail one's political aspirations.
Its desire to remain politically correct and relevant in a fluid political landscape ensures it seeks and aligns with one of the 44 political parties which have actual policies.
The parties have very similar policies. Many copy each other using slightly different words.
Consequently, the task of choosing which political party to vote for becomes tricky. And the whole show descends into petty politicking which eventually can find resolution in the aforementioned tribal politics.
The danger comes from the enlightened group’s disillusionment at what has happened to them.
This takes the form of a remarkable capacity to spin and distort information and, in order to influence, create all manner of perceptions at village level. It is an unfortunate reality – or should I say fake reality - to say the least.
The prevalence and persistence of tribal political culture in Lufa, characterised by epic proportions of political illiteracy, can thus be seen as the work of this disillusioned group of enlightened people.
There are others, however, who remain true to their respective journeys to achieve political enlightenment. They do so at a cost, even refusing to participate in elections if tribal politics seeks to suppress their political views.
Unbeknown to others, this small group keeps alive political hope for Lufa. A faith that Papua New Guinea will one day accept Lufa as an equal partner in running the affairs of state.
There is a conviction that someday soon this group will pull Lufa out of its abyss of ignorance and self-inflicted coma.
When? Well, perhaps I will happen this election. Perhaps not!
It will be achieved when the politically enlightened become strong and credible enough to exert a tangible influence over tribal politics and thus gain the ability to change community perceptions and electoral behaviour.
The need for change has never been so profound. It shines bright like a star. Its radiance is one of positivity.
Should the political ignoramuses and the politically enlightened find common ground in the coming elections, Lufa's change of guard is certain.
Otherwise tribal politics will continue to maintain a suffocating grip on Lufa for a long time yet.