Sure, I agree that we should look at why. If one looks at the case of France vs. Samori's state, the French were stronger as a result of having better guns, not necessarily better tactics or training (Yves Person argued in his biography of Samori that if Samori's troops had been as well equipped as the French, the Samorian army wouldn't have lost, so the difference in weapons was probably the main thing), but the best option would have been for Samori's forces to try to ally with other states in the region to try to partially make up for the disparity in weapons that existed. They tried to forge alliances twice: the first time by allying with the ruler of the Tukulor empire, but the French became aware of the alliance and moved to isolate the Tukulor ruler and defeat him before the alliance could bring any substantive results (before a combined army could be formed), and in the second instance the Samorians tried to ally with Asante, but for some reason the two states were not able to work things out and come to a definite agreement. Being too divided (not forming effective alliances in time) and having poorer quality guns are two big factors in that particular case.Substantially I agree with you. Anyway there was a "first time" ... when the Europeans arrived. If they [we, I'm not going to play the role of the angel] were able to colonize those African countries ... we should wonder why.
Ethiopia on the other hand, was of course able to get good quality, modern (at the time) weapons in substantial quantities beforehand.