President Obama released a video statement to Kenya today, noting his connection to the country, and encouraging the citizens to participate in the upcoming national elections.

“I’ve been grateful for my connection to Kenya and the way you’ve welcomed me and my family to your beautiful country, from my father’s village in Alego to the bustling town of Nairobi,” Obama stated in a video with Swahili subtitles.

The president added that a “truly democratic Kenya” deserved a free and fair election, although he was careful to note that the United States of America would not endorse a specific candidate.

“This is a moment for the people of Kenya to come together instead of tearing apart,” Obama said. “If you do you can show the world that you are not a member of a tribe or ethnic group but citizens of a proud and great nation.”